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JULY 21, 1861. 


The contents of this volume will have nothing of the interest 
connected with travels or descriptive scenery. They are chiefly 
essays prepared for special occasions, expressive of the Author's 
views of the rights, duties, and hopes of the African race. 

This small contribution to the literary wealth of Liberia, has 
been made in the hope of thus attracting to the Liberia College, 
in which the Author is a Professor, the favor of some who may 
have leisure and curiosity to examine it. 

The prospect of Africa's future civilization, and of her taking 
rank among the advanced countries of the world, thus vindicating 
the oneness of origin from the first Adam, and of interest in the 
second Adam, may well stimulate all her children to the boldest 

The Author in putting forth this small volume, feels assured that 
he has been actuated more by a desire to contribute something to 
the credit of the African race, to which he entirely belongs, and of 
the Republic of Liberia, with which, from choice, after twelve 
years' residence, he is fully identified, than by any vanity of ap- 
pearing as an author. At the earnest suggestion of friends, to 
whose judgment he reluctantly defers, he introduces "Liberia's 
Offering " with the following brief 

My native place is St. Thomas, one of the Danish West-India 
Islands, where I was born August 3, 1832. I was blest with the 
care of pious parents. To the influence of my excellent and de- 
voted mother, who is still alive, more than to any other earthly 
cause, can I trace whatever literary tastes and religious aspirations 
I possess. 

In 1842, my father removed his family to Porto Cabello, Vene- 
zuela, and remained two years, returning to St. Thomas, in 1844. 
While residing in Venezuela, I learned to speak the Spanish 


On my return to St. Thomas, I was apprenticed to the tailoring 
business, with a provision allowing me to attend school in the 
morning and the shop in the afternoon, and so continued for five 

In 1845, Rev. John P. Knox, now pastor of a Presbyterian 
Church at Newtown, Long Island, came to St. Thomas and took 
charge of the Reformed Dutch Church. With others of my com- 
panions I became a member of a Bible-class under his instruction, 
and thus was formed a friendship which was of great benefit to 
me, and gave a turn to all my life. I was fond of composition 
and often indulged myself in attempts in that way. I was accus- 
tomed to take copious notes of his sermons, which especially at-, 
tracted his attention, and led him to encourage me to prepare for 
the ministry, after I had formally joined his church, in which I 
had been baptized and brought up. 

In 1850, when Mrs. Knox was about to return to the United 
States he encouraged me to come also, with the hope of securing 
for me admission to one of the colleges in this country. I found, 
however, the deep-seated prejudice against my race, exercising so 
controlling an influence in the institutions of learning, that admis- 
sion to them was almost impossible. 

Discouraged by the difficulties in my path, I proposed to return 
to St. Thomas, and abandon the hope of an education, when I re- 
ceived from Mrs. Knox a letter so full of interest in my welfare, 
and so urgent that I should still strive to become fitted for useful- 
ness in the Christian ministry, and render my life useful to Africa, 
that I relinquished my purpose of returning to my parents. I 
decided to accept of the offer of the New-York Colonization So- 
ciety to furnish me a passage to Liberia, in hopes to enjoy the ad- 
vantages of the Alexander High School, then beginning its noble 
work, at Monrovia, the capital of the Republic. 

By the Liberia packet from Baltimore, December 21, 1850, 1 
was safely conveyed to the continent of my fathers and my race, 
reaching Monrovia, January 26, 1851. Arriving in Liberia, an 
entire stranger, without a single letter of introduction, I was re- 
ceived with great kindness by the people. Especially do I re- 
member the cordial welcome and hospitable treatment extended 
to me by Mr. B. V. R. James and his family. 

After a slight acclimation, I was, by the kindness of the Presby- 
terian Missionary Board, accepted as a student in the Alexander 
High School under charge of Rev. David A. Wilson, who care- 


fully instructed me and others of my class-mates in Latin and 
Greek, as well as the usual lessons in Geography and Mathemat- 
ics. The Hebrew language, not being embraced in the course of 
studies in the Alexander High School, I took up the study of it 
myself, and devoted for some time all my leisure hours to it ; being 
anxious to read the entire Scriptures in the original languages, es- 
pecially those passages of the Old Testament which have refer- 
ence to the African race. 

Three years after my admission to the school, during a visit for 
his health which Mr. Wilson made to the United States, I was 
placed in charge of some of the classes. "While thus engaged in 
my first efforts at teaching, I was appointed by President Roberts, 
Editor of the Liberia Herald, which, without allowing it to inter- 
fere with my duties in the school, I conducted for one year. 

After the return of Mr. Wilson, I continued to assist him from 
time to time as his health seemed to require it; and, in 1858, on 
his retirement, on account of the illness of his family, I was placed 
in full charge of the Alexander High School, where I continued 
teaching until 1861, when I was elected Professor of Greek and 
Latin in Liberia College. 

It was under the ministry of Rev. Mr. Knox in St. Thomas, 
that I made a profession of religion. Ever looking forward to the 
ministry, I was finally, after the usual examinations, licensed and 
ordained by the Presbytery of West-Africa, in the year 1858. 

In the early part of 1861, in order to recruit my impaired 
health, I made a visit to England and Scotland ; thence I went to 
Canada, visited Niagara Falls, and spent a few weeks in the 
United States. While in England I was privileged to form the 
personal acquaintance of Lord Brougham, to whom I had the 
honor of presenting a walking-cane on behalf of the young men 
of Liberia ; of Right Honorable W. E. Gladstone, and Rev. Henry 
Melvill, Principal of East-India College. With these gentlemen 
I had previously been in correspondence from Liberia. I was also 
shown great hospitality and kindness by Samuel Gurney, Esq., 
M.P., Gerard Ralston, Esq., and Thomas Hodgkin, M.D., of 
London, and by Rev. Drs. Guthrie and Johnston, of Edinburgh. 
By the last-named gentleman I had the honor of being presented 
to the United Presbyterian Synod, then in session in Edinburgh, 
at the same time that Rev. Dr. George B. Cheever of New-York 
City was introduced. 

The Presbytery of West-Africa during their session, December, 


1860, elected me their Commissioner to the General Assembly of 
the Presbyterian Church, (O. S.,) in the United States, which met 
in the city of Philadelphia, in May, 1861, but my delay in Europe 
prevented my enjoying the privilege of being the first black repre- 
sentative from Africa in that distinguished body. 

Returning to Liberia in the autumn of the year, I was induced 
to accept the appointment from the Government, as Commissioner 
to the descendants of Africa in the United States and the West- 
Indies, to give information of Liberia, and invite them to a home 
in that country. In the prosecution of this mission, I arrived in 
this country, via England, in the month of May last. 

The reader will see in this brief record, the kind leadings of 
that Providence which, from an obscure condition, in a distant 
island, has taken me on to my present position, without any special 
merit of my own. Friends and helpers have arisen in all my 
path, to all of whom I am a debtor for unmerited kindness, and 
whom I shall not cease to remember with gratitude while life lasts* 

I ought not to close without adding a few words about my home 
in Africa. After twelve years' residence there, I have this summer 
made a filial visit to my aged mother, to feel once more her warm 
embrace. I found a most cordial welcome and unexpected honors 
among my former friends. The JVew - York Colonization Journal 
for October makes the following note of my visit to St. Thomas : 


"We learn that Professor Blyden, of the Liberia College, who is a native 
of St. Thomas, and, after an absence of twelve years in Liberia, has this 
summer been to visit his mother and friends, was received with very great 
respect and kindness. He filled the pulpit of the Dutch Church at St. 
Thomas, frequently, and always had crowded audiences. 

His official character as a Commissioner of Liberia, to make known the 
advantages for honor and usefulness which that Republic presented, en- 
hanced the interest with which his modest circular, setting forth with 
brevity the facts in the case, was received. Hundreds there and in the 
Tortugas Islands expressed a desire to emigrate to Liberia, to participate 
in its privileges, and partake of its noble duties toward Africa. A few 
were so much in earnest as to start at once. "We proposed to quote sev- 
eral articles from the St. Thomas Tidende, but the papers have been bor- 
rowed and not returned in time. The young men of St. Thomas made a 
fund, and publicly presented Mr. Blyden with a tangible evidence of their 
regard, in the form of a silver flower-vase and plate, and other useful ar- 
ticles, of which we find the following brief notice in the Tidende, August 


" We learn that on the evening of the twenty-second instant, a deputation 
of gentlemen waited on Rev. Edward W. Blyden, at his residence, and 
presented to him, on behalf of a large number of his fellow -townsmen, a 
very valuable testimonial, accompanied with a beautifully written address, 
expressive of the great pleasure which his visit to his native land has gen- 
erally afforded, and of the warm appreciation felt by his countrymen of his 
efforts in the sacred cause of Africa's evangelization and regeneration. We 
trust that the presence in our town of the reverend gentleman may act as 
a stimulus upon his former associates and acquaintances, urging them to 
attempt great things for the outraged land with whose interests he has 
identified himself, and which is now attracting so largely the attention of 
the civilized world. It is gratifying to us to know that our little Island 
has furnished one to take a part in the great work of opening Africa to 
civilization, to which savans and philanthropists are hastening from Europe 
and America to devote themselves." 

A society was formed called the "St. Thomas Liberia Association," 
composed of the most prominent men of the island, who at once raised a 
fund and forwarded to the United States fifty dollars, to purchase maps, 
books, and periodicals concerning Liberia. It must be most gratifying to 
Professor Blyden to receive such tokens of hearty good-will and high ap- 
preciation from the people of his early home. 

My heart is in Liberia, and longs for the welfare of Africa. An 
African nationality is the great desire of my soul. I believe na- 
tionality to be an ordinance of nature ; and no people can rise to 
an influential position among the nations without a distinct and 
efficient nationality. Cosmopolitism has never effected any thing, 
and never will, perhaps, till the millennium. God has " made of 
one blood all nations of men," but he has also " determined the 
bounds of their habitation." 

Liberia is a beautiful tropical country, teeming with the rich 
fruits of a perpetual summer, with mountains and valleys, and 
rivers and brooks, " well-watered every where as the garden of 
the Lord." In all these respects she can scarcely be surpassed. 

Her civil, political, religious and social advantages, however, are 
her chief attraction. No community can have more perfect reli- 
gious liberty. Republican government is nowhere more thor- 
oughly carried out. No social disadvantage is felt by any descend- 
ant of Africa on account of color. The moment a colored man 
from America lands in Liberia, he finds the galling chains of caste 
falling from his soul, and he can stand erect, and feel and realize 
that he is indeed a man. 

For myself and children I desire no wider field of labor and no 
greater privileges than I enjoy in that country. And could my 


voice reach every descendant of Africa in America, I would say 
to him : " Come away from the land of caste and oppression, to 
the freedom of our young Republic !" Come help us build up a 
Nationality in Africa. 

The reader, I trust, will pardon the seeming egotism of this 
narrative, inseparable from the very nature of the composition, 
and be lenient to this " Offering " from Liberia. 

Edward W. Blydejt. 

JSTeto-York, October 21, 1862. 












" Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God." — Psalm 68 : 31. 

The continent of Africa occupies an important geo- 
graphical position. It lies between two great oceans 
— the highways of the principal portions of commerce. 
It contains twelve millions of square miles, with a pop- 
ulation of one hundred and sixty millions. But, not- 
withstanding its physical and relative importance, it 
has lain, until a comparatively recent period, shrouded 
from the view of the inhabitants of other portions of 
the earth. 

While the spirit of adventure has opened up the 
most uninviting parts of Europe ; while Asia, with its 
impenetrable jungle and ferocious animals, has been 
traversed from one end to the other ; while the ancient 
and mighty forests of America have fallen before the 
power of enterprise and the charm of civilization — the 
highest peak of the Rocky Mountains scaled, the Andes 
and the Cordilleras measured ; while the distant isles 
of the sea have been visited and occupied by intelli- 
gence, industry, and enterprise; while the cold and 
barren, and almost inaccessible regions of the earth 
have been approached and explored as far as human 
beings are found — Africa, lying in the very pathway 
of commerce, offering as many inducements to the 
seekers after scientific knowledge as any other land, 
presenting as numerous objects for the labors of the 


philanthropist as any other country, has been passed 
by by the traveler and the philanthropist, and the 
civilized world has been left to entertain at best but 
the most vague and unsatisfactory conjectures as to the 
character of the country, and the condition of its in- 

To the majority of civilized and enlightened men, 
Africa is hardly ever made a subject of earnest thought. 
Various interests of more immediate concern crowd out 
thoughts of a land which is spoken of, perhaps, only 
when instances of degradation, ignorance, and super- 
stition are referred to. The other portion of the civil- 
ized world, who think and speak of Africa, are divided 
in their views and feelings with regard to that land, and 
in the motives which actuate them to be at all interest- 
ed. Some regard it as a place with which a lucrative 
trade may be " driven ;" where the articles of commerce, 
palm-oil, cam-wood, ivory, and other rare productions 
may be obtained. These speak of Africa only in con- 
nection with these things. All their interests in the 
land are of a commercial nature. Others, with souls 
more sordid and hearts more avaricious, who are never 
once troubled by any sentiment of humanity, are in- 
terested in Africa only as a scene for plunder and car- 
nage. From these, Africa has had the most frequent 
and the most constant visits, during the last three cen- 
turies. They have spread all along the coast of that 
peninsula — formerly the abode of peace and plenty, of 
industry and love — " arrows, firebrands, and death." 
In their pursuit of blood — " not beasts' but human 
gore 77 — they have scattered desolation, and misery, 
and degradation into all parts of the land whither they 
have had access ; so that not unfrequently has it occur- 
red that some unfortunate and lonely suflferer, standing 

libeeia's offeking. 7 

amid a scene of desolation, having escaped the cruel 
chase of the slaver, whose ruthless hands have borne 
away his relatives and acquaintances, has earnestly 
cursed civilization, and has solemnly prayed, as he has 
stood surveying the melancholy relics of his home, that 
an insurmountable and impenetrable barrier — some 
wall of mountain height — might be erected between 
his country and all civilized nations. 

Only a few, very few, have regarded Africa as a land 
inhabited by human beings, children of the same com- 
mon Father, travelers to the same judgment-seat of 
Christ, and heirs of the same awful immortality. These 
few have endeavored to hold up that land as the object 
of the sympathy, the labors, and the prayers of the 
Christian world. They have held her up as the victim 
of unfortunate circumstances, which have operated 
against her progress, and prevented her from keeping 
pace, in the march of human improvement, with other 
and more favored portions of the earth. These few 
have endeavored, and are now endeavoring to awaken 
a deeper interest in that land. Through their noble 
efforts, that forgotten country is becoming better 
known. Its inhabitants are receiving more of the 
sympathy of the enlightened portion of mankind ; and 
efforts are making to introduce among them the bless- 
ings of civilization and Christianity — to accelerate the 
day when " Ethiopia shall stretch out her hands unto 

But there are adversaries. There are those who have 
no sympathy to bestow upon the African. His com- 
plexion and hair furnish to them conclusive reasons why 
he should be excluded from their benevolence. They 
wish nothing to do with him. Their charities, when 
the negro is mentioned, immediately contract. Their 

8 Liberia's offering. 

Christian love is ample enough to embrace all Europe, 
and other countries inhabited by the Caucasian, but it 
can go no further. Upon other branches of the human 
family they look down with arrogance and contempt. 
And such persons may be found in enlightened coun- 
tries, professing Christianity, and priding themselves on 
their civilization and culture. But do not such feelings 
prove them to be connected rather closely with those 
remote ages when the extent of one's clan or tribe or 
district formed the limit of all his benevolent oper- 
ations? Does not their conduct constantly remind 
those who meet them of their intimate relations with 
the barbarous past ? Are they not sadly deficient of 
that magnanimous and noble liberality which Christ- 
ianity seeks to inspire, when it declares that of " one 
blood God hath made all the nations of the earth" ? 

There are others, who believe, or affect to believe, 
that this people are doomed to degradation and serv- 
itude ; that the malediction uttered by Noah — evidently 
against the descendants of Canaan, and which has long 
since received its fulfillment — follows the African race ; 
and that therefore all efforts to elevate them will be un- 
availing. Yet some of these persons profess to believe 
in the regenerating and elevating power of the Gospel. 
They will declaim long and loudly, upon the efficiency 
of Christianity to redeem and dignify man — to spread, 
wherever it goes, light and liberty, and the blessings of 
an exalted civilization. But, in their minds, Africa 
seems to form an exception. The promises in the Bible 
of the universal prevalence of righteousness and truth, 
are not far-reaching enough to affect her case. The 
ignorance, degradation, and misery of the land are so 
deep and revolting, as to baffle the recuperative power 
of the Gospel. 

Liberia's offering. 9 

But the Lord, whose ways are not as our ways, and 
whose thoughts are not as our thoughts, has declared 
that the earth shall be filled with his knowledge, as the 
waters cover the sea. Glorious truth ! The salvation 
which Christ has purchased for us is a " common salva- 
tion." It is confined neither to countries nor races. It 
knows no limits. All complexions, all classes and con- 
ditions are equally within the sphere of its operation. 
" Go ye into all the world," said the Divine Author of 
the salvation, "and preach the Gospel to every crea- 
ture." Its applicability is universal. All the accessible 
dominions of the world may be blessed by it. It will 
rectify all disorder, banish every vice, loose every bond, 
and having eradicated the causes of all the sins and sor- 
rows and sufferings of the human family, it will spread 
righteousness and truth, harmony and peace, liberty 
and love, over the whole face of this sin-stricken globe. 
These are the glorious and wide-spread results which 
Christianity promises to achieve. And who will dare 
to say that Africa will not participate in these general 
blessings ? Who will dare to affirm that Africa will 
remain in her gloom, when the glory of the Lord shall 
have filled the whole earth ? 

But if these promises be considered too general, there 
are passages in the word of God, there are .promises 
and types which have special reference to Africa. 
" Behold Philistia and Tyre, with Ethiopia ; this man 
was born there. The labor of Egypt, and merchandise 
of Ethiopia and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall 
come over unto thee, and they shall be thine." And 
the words of the text : " Princes shall come out of 
Egypt. Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto 
God." No one that remembers the reference in the 
Scripture to the skin of the Ethiopian, will doubt that 

10 libekia's offering. 

these prophecies belong to the negro. We see the 
eunuch of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, going on 
his way rejoicing, because believing in Jesus ; and we 
seem to have a pledge of Africa's evangelization. 
When the wicked Herod was plotting the murder of 
the infant Redeemer of mankind, an angel appeared 
to Joseph in a dream, and said, " Arise, and take the 
young- child and his mother, and flee into the land of 
Egypt" — into the land of Egypt, m Afkica. Africa, in 
the providence of God, according to the declarations of 
prophecy, was the land chosen to shelter the Saviour 
of the world. If, in the hour of his danger, Africa was 
the chosen asylum from the cruelty of his royal enemy ; 
if, in the hour of his affliction, he sought a refuge in 
that land, will he not now, in the day of her trial and 
her affliction, remember her ? Was not his flight to, 
and sojourn in that land, a token of his favor ? Driven 
from Asia, the land of his birth, from among his own 
people, that land, now down-trodden, gave him wel- 
come. And if it be true that to as many as received 
him, he gave power to become the sons of God, may 
not Africa, though she did not then receive him in that 
higher and more spiritual sense, expect to share in the 
privilege of becoming a child of God ? Will he not 
yet, in his might, as King of kings, and Lord of lords, 
gird on his sword, and ride through that land, conquer- 
ing and to conquer % Will he not overturn, as he is 
already beginning to do, and overturn and overturn, 
until he establish his kingdom there ? Yes ; we take 
it, that as he suffered in Africa, in the days of his hu- 
miliation, he will yet reign in that land in his glory. 

But there is an ampler prophecy still — a more ex- 
press type : " Let us go," to quote the language of Mr. 
Melvill, " and look on the Redeemer as he toils towards 

libeeia's offering. 11 

Calvary. Who is it that, in the ordering of Provi- 
dence, has been appointed to carry his cross ? A Cyre- 
nian, an African. As Africa had something to do with 
his earlier days, so she has to do with his final hours. 
'And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, 
Simon by name : him they compelled to bear his cross.' 
We read the prophecy ; we apprehend the type. Not 
without meaning was one of the sons of Africa selected 
to bear the cross after Christ, and thus to fill a post to 
which the martyrs and confessors of every age of Christ- 
ianity have counted it their highest honor to succeed. 
It was as though to tell us that even Africa shall yet 
be brought to the discipleship of Jesus. Europe gave 
not this type of the Gentile world submitting to Christ. 
Asia was not permitted to own the favored individual. 
America, as yet unknown to the rest of the earth ; might 
not send the representative of heathenism. Africa is 
the privileged country ; an African follows Jesus. Oh ! 
the darkness of many generations seems scattered ; and 
I rejoice in the assurance that the land of slaves shall 
be the home of freedom, the land of misery the home 
of happiness, the land of idolatry the home of Christ- 

Some have been inclined to regard Africa as a 
doomed land, on account of the protracted night which 
has hung over it. Empires have arisen and fallen ; the 
arts and sciences have been born, fostered, grown up to 
strength and maturity in other lands, while Africa re- 
mains in its primitive simplicity and barbarism, con- 
tributing nothing to the well-being of mankind. From 
this fact, it has been argued that there is a natural and 
invincible incapacity for improvement in the race, for- 
bidding all hope of their ever becoming a power in the 

* MelvilTs Sermons, vol. ii. 1850. 


world. This were a correct inference, if it could be 
shown that Africans have had equal facilities for im- 
provement with those races which have made such 
rapid strides in civilization, or if it could "be shown 
that any people precisely in their circumstances have 
made any marked advancement. The negro has been 
inhabiting a country by whose physical peculiarities he 
has been deprived of the intercourse of the civilized 
and enlightened world. 

This land, for wise purposes doubtless, is rendered 
inaccessible to foreigners, by fevers produced by the ex- 
halations arising from the marshy alluvial lands, which 
border all the intertropical regions ; it has, therefore, 
been shut out for the most part, from the means of im- 
provement. Men talk selfishly and scornfully of the 
long-continued barbarism and degradation of Africa, as 
if civilization were indigenous to any country ; as if 
the soil and climate of some countries could give exist- 
ence, and vitality, and growth to the arts and sciences. 
If this were the case, we should despair of Africa's ever 
rising from her abject condition. But all the teachings 
of general and particular history, all individual and 
national experience are opposed to such an idea. No 
nation has ever been found, which, by its own unaided 
efforts, by some powerful inward impulse, has arisen 
from barbarism and degradation to civilization and re- 
spectability. It is very true that the circumstances of 
some nations or communities have been more favorable 
than those of others, for receiving and retaining and im- 
proving upon the elements of civilization. But there 
is nothing in race or blood, in color or hair, that im- 
parts susceptibility of improvement to one people over 
another. Knowledge, which lies at the basis of all 
human progress, came from heaven. It must be ac- 

Liberia's offering. 13 

quired ; it is not innate. The mind left to itself from 
infancy, without the means of culture, remains, if not 
blank, yet destitute of all those ideas which constitute 
a man civilized. If it be strong and vigorous, it will, 
instead of rising in the scale of virtue and civilization, 
make deeper and more awful plunges into barbarism. 
The richness of the uncultivated soil shows itself in the 
rankness and luxuriance of the weeds which it pro- 
duces. The soil, then, must be cultivated, if we expect 
to reap a harvest of any value. So with the mind. 
The intellectual plow and rake must be used, and the 
good seed introduced. Knowledge must be imparted. 
As one man learns it from another, so nation learns it 
from nation. Civilization is handed from one people 
to another, its great fountain and source being the great 
God of the universe. 

Those nations that are foremost in civilization and 
science were once in abject degradation. No one in 
the days of Csesar or Tacitus could ever have predicted 
that the barbarism and savage wildness of the Germans 
would give place to the learning, refinement, and cul- 
ture which that people now exhibit. When Cicero pro- 
nounced the Britons unfit for slaves, on account of their 
stupidity, who would have ventured to afiirm, without 
appearing to insult the understanding of men, that that 
people would become one of the leading powers of the 
earth ? " Nothing," says Mr. Macaulay, " in the early 
existence of Britain, indicated the greatness which she 
was destined to attain." Now, I would ask, if it be 
true that there is innate ability in certain races to rise 
m the scale of civilization ; and if that ability, as some 
would intimate, exists in those which have already 
risen, why did the Britons, when Greece and Borne 
flourished in all their grandeur, remain insignificant and 



unknown ? Why was not tliat self-civilizing power ex- 
hibited by them, which many now look for in the Afri- 
cans? Nor are Africans the only people that have 
remained stationary in these latter days of multiplied 
facilities for improvement. There are many tribes in 
whose veins courses the renowned Caucasian blood, 
sunk to-day in a degradation as deep, and in an ignor- 
ance as profound as any tribe in Africa. If civilization 
is inborn in the Caucasian, as some affirm ; if it is indi- 
genous to all the countries which he inhabits, why are 
the tribes to which we have referred, no further ad- 
vanced? Ought not every land which Caucasians 
inhabit, to be in a high state of civilization? But 
many are far from such a state. Look at the regions 
of Siberia, of Lapland. Look at the peasantry of 
many of the countries of Europe. Why are they so 
far down in the scale of civilization ? And look at 
those countries in the south of Europe, Turkey, Greece, 
Italy, Spain, and Portugal, which formerly flourished, 
and contained within themselves all the learning and 
wisdom that existed in the world. They have sadly 
degenerated. They are comparatively insignificant. 
Why did not their Caucasian nature, if it did not urge 
them onward to higher attainments, keep them in the 
same leading positions among the nations ? The an- 
swer is at hand. Their natures remain the same. 
Their soil and climate are the same. Demosthenes and 
Cicero, Alexander and Caesar, saw no serener sky, they 
felt no more genial breezes than their degenerate pos- 
terity. The sun shines with the same power and 
glory; the moon moves on with the same soft and 
silvery sweetness; the stars are as beautiful and bright 
as when Homer and Virgil felt their inspiration. 
What, then, causes the difference ? The moral circum- 

Liberia's offering. 15 

stances of the people are changed. The circumstances 
that have surrounded them for several centuries have 
been of a character to retard their progress. 

Men, are to a certain extent, the creatures of the cir- 
cumstances in which they live. Very often, what they 
achieve depends less upon their personal qualities 
than upon surrounding influences. The African forms 
no exception to this rule. Between him and other 
men there is not that difference which some have la- 
bored to establish. There is, indeed, no essential dif- 
ference between any two men. Men, however, have 
drawn formidable lines of separation between them- 
selves and others, who, happening not to have been 
blessed with the same propitious circumstances, have 
not risen to the same intellectual or social standing. 
How true the words of the poet ! — 

" Alas ! what differs more than man from man ? 
And whence this difference ? Whence but from himself ? 
For see the universal race endowed 
With the same upright form."* 

The African, then, is in the rear of the European, not 
because of any essential difference existing in their 
nature, but only on account of differing circumstances. 
In consequence of various influences to which I have 
already adverted, rendering the coast of his native land 
unhealthy to foreigners, civilization and Christianity, 
with their concomitant blessings, have not been gene- 
rally introduced. 

Until very recently, the country was not known be- 
yond its maritime frontiers. And in keeping with the 
general disposition to exaggerate the good or evil quali- 
ties of what is unknown, various stories were put in cir- 
culation with regard to this land — stories which had 

* Wordsworth. 

16 Liberia's offering. 

the effect to beget indifference on the part of some, and 
actual dread of penetrating the country on the part of 
others. Some of these stories of wonders in the inte- 
rior, and frightful appearances on the coast, arose in 
remote antiquity, and are to this day current among 
the ignorant. Recent explorations show that many of 
those horrible things had no reality but in the preju- 
dices of their inventors. Perhaps the most ancient and 
most amusing stories told of this land, are those by 
Hanno, the Carthaginian commander, who went on a 
voyage of colonization and discovery along the Atlantic 
coast, about five hundred years before the Christian 
era. He says in his report : " We passed a country 
burning with fires and perfumes, and streams of fire 
supplied from it fell into the sea. The country was 
impassable on account of the heat. We sailed quickly 
thence, being much terrified ; and passing on for four 
days, we discovered at night a country full of fire. In 
the middle was a lofty fire larger than the rest, which 
seemed to touch the stars." This surpasses even those 
terrible pictures which children, in their florid imagin- 
ations, are accustomed to draw of that land. 

All these stories of the physical character of the 
country, blended with exaggerated statements of the 
moral degradation of its inhabitants, have tended to 
keep away enterprise and civilization from Africa. 
Men have been willing barely to tolerate a trade with 
the outskirts of the country ; and they would not even 
do this, were it not for the lucrativeness of the trade. 
And it has been the policy of African traders, though 
they know that many of the tales in circulation about 
Africa are devoid of foundation, to assist in giving 
them currency, in order to keep away competition. 
Can any wonder, in view of these circumstances, that 

Liberia's offering. 17 

Africa still lags behind in the march of human im- 
provement ? 

And when, with these things, we take into consider- 
ation the regular and thoroughly organized efforts 
which have been put forth to keep back the African ; 
when we think of the numerous obstacles which have 
been thrown into the way of his advancement by the 
avarice and wickedness of men, do we not rather won- 
der that he is no lower down in barbarism % Do we 
not rather wonder that any portion of this people 
should have made progress in civilization, in literature, 
and in science ? 

Shall we here tell you of the sufferings which the 
slave-trade has entailed upon them ? Shall we tell you 
of their sorrows in the countries of their captivity? 
Oh ! we would not harrow up the feelings of this 
audience with tales of woe. We would but refer to 
slavery and the slave-trade. Those names alone are suf- 
ficient to call up emotions of sympathy wherever there 
exist the feelings of humanity. The wrongs of the Afri- 
can fill the darkest page of human history. To recount 
the barbarities which the Christian nations of Europe 
and of America have inflicted, and are now inflicting 
upon the negro, " would fill volumes, and they should 
be written with tears instead of ink, and on sack-cloth 
instead of parchment." We refer not merely to those 
physical annoyances, and diabolical tortures, and de- 
basing usages, to which, in the countries of their exile, 
they have been subjected, but also to those deeper 
wrongs whose tendency has been to dwarf the soul, to 
emasculate the mind. You have perhaps read the nar- 
rative of African sufferings ; but painfully intense as 
they are, they are only the outside — they are only the 
visible. There are a thousand little evils which can 


18 libekia's offeking. 

never be expressed. There is a sorrow of the heart, 
with which the stranger can not intermeddle. There 
are secret agonies known only to God, which are far 
more acute than any external tortures. Oh ! it is not 
the smiting of the back, until the earth is crimsoned 
with streams of blood ; it is not the pursuing of human 
beings with blood-hounds ; it is not the amputation of 
the limbs ; it is not even the killing of the body ; it is 
not these that are the keenest sufferings that a people 
can undergo. Oh ! no ; these affect only the outward 
man, and may leave untouched the majestic mind. 
But those inflictions which tend to contract and de- 
stroy the mind ; those cruelties which benumb the sen- 
sibility of the soul, those influences which chill and 
arrest the currency of the heart's affections — these are 
the awful instruments of real suffering and degrada- 
tion ; and these have been made to operate upon the 

But mark the providence of God in the case of this 
people. The very means which, to all human appear- 
ance, seemed calculated to crush them out from the 
earth, have been converted into means of blessing. In 
the countries of their exile, they have come under the 
influences of Christianity, from which they were de- 
barred in their own country, by physical circumstances. 
They have been almost miraculously preserved. It may 
be said of them as of the Israelites in Egypt : " The 
more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and 
grew." They have grown despite affliction, both nu- 
merically and intellectually; their national life has been 
remarkably intense ; they still retain in undiminished 
vigor their integrity as a people. 

And, as if in fulfillment of a Divine plan, some are 
beginning to return to their fatherland from the house 

Liberia's offering. 19 

of their bitter pilgrimage, laden with the blessings of 
Christianity and civilization, and are successfully intro- 
ducing them among their benighted brethren. Liberia, 
the region of Africa which these pioneers inhabit, insig- 
nificant though it may be among the nations of the 
earth, is an important spot on that continent. It is a 
center whence is beginning to radiate to different points 
of that land the light of Christianity. There are fif- 
teen thousand civilized and Christianized Africans striv- 
ing to accomplish the twofold work of establishing and 
maintaining an independent nationality, and of intro- 
ducing the Gospel among untold millions of unevan. 
gelized and barbarous men. Their residence on that 
coast of only thirty years has already brought to pass 
important and salutary revolutions in the condition of 
that portion of Africa. 

Liberia has resisted the influence of heathenism. 
She has stood her ground against the encroachments 
of a superstition which, considering the general charac- 
ter of her citizens, she was but little prepared to meet. 
She has completely, in all her feebleness, annihilated 
the slave-trade along seven hundred miles of coast. 
Before the establishment of that little Republic, the 
tribes in all the extent of country now within our 
jurisdiction, and under our influence, were perpetually 
harassed by the incursions of those monsters in human 
form, the slave-traders. They could feel secure at no 
time. War ! war ! war ! and carnage were continually 
the cry, and every nook and corner was made to trem- 
ble. Young and old, male and female, fell victims to 
the heartless marauders. Those who escaped did so 
only by fleeing from the neighborhood of the slave- 
hunters to the thickets and swamps — to the milder and 
safer neighborhood of leopards and boa constrictors. 

20 Liberia's offering. 

But, blessed be God, a different state of tilings now 

When, forty years ago, the small band of eighty 
colored persons settled on Cape Mesurado, far away, 
near five thousand miles across the sea from the place 
of their birth, in a strange and insalubrious climate, 
surrounded by hostile tribes and other unpropitious 
influences, owning only a few acres of land, no one 
would have supposed that in less than forty years, in 
the lifetime of some of the first settlers, that people 
would so enlarge and spread themselves, so extend 
their influences as to possess over fifty thousand square 
miles of territory, holding under their jurisdiction over 
two hundred thousand souls. Tribes which, when they 
first landed on those shores, could easily have over- 
whelmed them and swept them into the sea, they now 
compel to cease intercourse with the slave-trader, to 
forget their mutual feuds in obedience to Christian law, 
and to cease from wars and bloodshed. They induce 
them, instead of the sword, to use the plowshare, and 
instead of the spear, the pruning-hook. And this influ- 
ence is growing. Liberia is known and respected for 
hundreds of miles in the interior ; and by the contact 
which is every day occurring between traders and tran- 
sient visitors from the far interior and the civilized 
Liberians, our influence is going out in all directions, 
and a great work is being accomplished in this part of 

But you may ask for positive advancement in the 
Republic of Liberia. You may point me to the prog- 
ress of this country ; you may point me to the physical 
revolutions which Anglo-Saxon genius has produced 
over all this land ; you may bid me look at the various 
appliances of civilization, and you may ask : Can Libe- 
ria show any thing like these ? 


In reply, I might point you to numerous physical 
changes in Liberia. I might point you to numerous 
instances of decided improvement in the physical aspect 
of that portion of Africa. But I now choose to refer 
you to the moral work that has been accomplished. I 
point you to barbarism encroached upon and overcome ; 
to carnage and bloodshed arrested ; to peace produced 
among belligerents ; to confidence and security, comfort 
and happiness restored; to lawful traffic taking the 
place of unlawful ; and I ask whether the triumphs of 
love over hatred ; the triumphs of peace over war ; the 
triumphs of humanity over barbarism and outrage ; the 
triumphs of /Christianity over heathenism, be not enti- 
tled to at least as much respect as the triumph of phys- 
ical agencies over the face of nature ? I do not know 
of any other place in the world where fifteen thousand 
persons are doing so important a work as those fifteen 
thousand Liberians. Oh ! that they may have the wis- 
dom to comprehend the responsibility of their position, 
and the grace to discharge the duties it involves ! 

The land is gradually opening. The portals which 
have been kept closed through all the historic ages by 
the repulsive inhospitality of nature, are yielding to 
the enterprise, the greed of trade, and the missionary 
zeal of the nineteenth century. Barth in the east and 
north, Livingstone in the south, have brought before 
the world treasures of information with regard to that 
land. Seymour and Sims,* citizens of Liberia, on the 
west have rendered valuable service. Explorations in 
various sections of the country are now going on. 
From almost every point of the compass expeditions 
are proceeding to the interior of the continent. Soon 

* The last two are names but little known, but not undeserving of mention, if 
adventure, and endurance, and suffering for the sake of enlarging the sphere of 
Hunan knowledge, entitle any to be numbered among the benefactors of mankind 


the mysteries of the land will be unfolded to the gaze 
and contemplation of an astonished world. These are 
the preliminaries to that great event which is predicted 
in the text : " Ethiopia shall soon stretch forth her 
hands unto God." 

We have endeavored carefully to examine this glori- 
ous and oft-cited passage in the original Hebrew ; and 
it has occurred to us that the passage might have been 
literally rendered : " Ethiopia shall suddenly stretch out 
her hands unto God." The idea contained in the verb 
taritz, rendered, " shall soon stretch out? does not seem 
to refer so much to the time as to the manner of the 
action predicted. The first meaning of the verb is to 
run * so it is rendered in Psalm 119 : 32, "I will run 
in the way of thy commandments ;" and in Jeremiah 

23 : 31, "I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran? 
etc. In the Hiphil form, the form which occurs in the 
text, the verb means to cause to run; or to lead on 
hastily, to do a thing quickly before the occurrence of 
any obstacle; hence, suddenly. Gesenius, the distin- 
guished German philologist, translates the passage: 
Ethiopia shall let her hands make haste to God." 

If, then, the idea is, that Ethiopia shall suddenly be 
redeemed, is there not furnished a rebuke to those who, 
because Africa has lain so long in darkness and gloom, 
and because of the* unpromising aspect of her present 
moral condition, give themselves up to despair, and 
fancy that there will never be the inauguration of bet- 
ter times? Why should men at any time venture 
unqualified opinions on matters in which the intellect- 
ual vision is necessarily bounded, and with regard to 
which experience so abundantly shows they can not 
arrive at conclusions altogether free from error, however 
extensive the induction upon which they base their 


reasonings ? The problem of African disenthrallment 
and elevation is beyond the power of hnman ingenuity 
to solve. Nothing short of Omniscience could so lay 
down the premises for reasoning upon this important 
subject, as to secure a result entirely free from error. 
Can the most acute and far-reaching mind indicate the 
antecedents and concomitants of that remarkable period 
when a nation shall be born in a day ? We may now 
be upon the very eve of events which are to usher in 
the redemption of Africa. The time, yea, the set time 
to favor Africa may be just about to break upon us in 
all its glory. And it may be that centuries form the 
interval which lies between us and the desired consum- 
mation. We can not tell; though from the signs of 
the times we feel justified in taking a hopeful rather 
than a desponding view. 

The success which has already attended the efforts 
to civilize and Christianize that dark land gives encour- 
aging promise of a glorious future. 

" Within the last twenty-five years more than one hundred Christian 
churches have been organized in that country, and upwards of fifteen thou- 
sand hopeful converts have been gathered into those churches. Nearly two 
hundred schools are in full operation in connection with these various mis- 
sions, and not less than sixteen thousand native youths are receiving a 
Christian training in those schools at the present moment. More than 
twenty different dialects have been studied out and reduced to writing, into 
many of which large portions of sacred Scripture, as well as other religious 
books, have been translated, printed, and circulated among the people ; and 
we are, no doubt, in the bounds of truth and probability, when it is assumed 
that some knowledge of the Christian salvation has been brought by direct 
and indirect means within the reach of at least five millions of immortal 
beings, who had never before heard of the blessed name of the Saviour. 

" Bright Christian lights now begin to blaze up at intervals, along a line 
of sea-coast of more than three thousand miles, where unbroken night for- 
merly reigned. The everlasting Gospel is now preached in Kumasi and 
Abomi, the capitals respectively of Ashantee and Dahomey, two of the most 
barbarous kingdoms on the face of the earth. Christian missions are now 
being established all over the kingdom of Yoruba, a land once wholly given 

24 libeeia's offeeing-. 

up to the slave-trade and bloodshed. Along the banks of the far interior 
Niger, where the bones of the great African traveler have slumbered for 
half a century, Christian lights are springing up in the track of the explor- 
ing expedition. At Old Calabar, a place renowned in former times not 
only for being one of the chief seats of the foreign slave-trade, but for the 
unparalleled cruelties and barbarities of its people, the Gospel is not only 
preached, but the Spirit of God is poured out upon that debased people. 
The Gospel has recently been proclaimed by our own (Presbyterian) mis- 
sionaries from Corisco, on the hights of the Sierra del Crystal Mountains, to 
a people who had not only never before heard it, but who themselves were 
unknown to the Christian world until within a few years past. When all 
these things are taken into consideration, every discerning mind must see 
at once that a footing of immense advantage has already been acquired 5 
and if present measures, with such modifications as may be suggested by 
experience, are followed up, in dependence upon Divine aid, the time is not 
far distant when the light of the Gospel shall reach the darkest and most 
remote corner of that great continent."* 

There is a strong probability that the progress of 
truth in Africa will be rapid and sudden. The mis* 
sionary does not encounter there, as in Asia, any for- 
midable superstition to be battered down. Though 
the people acknowledge the existence of good and bad 
spirits, they have no system of religion protected by 
the sanction of a hoary antiquity ; so that the work of 
evangelization need not be commenced by the slow 
process of undermining ancient and venerable systems 
of belief. The missionary's hardest work is to check 
the downward currency of the affections, to beget 
thoughtfulness on the subject of religion, to instill 
ideas of religion into the mind. His work is more 
constructive than destructive. He has nothing to 
demolish ; he has only to arrange his materials, and 
proceed to build. 

We look for great things in Africa during the next 
five-and-twenty years. Why should it be thought a 
thing impossible for that moral desert to bloom and 
blossom as the rose ? Why should it be regarded as 

* Princeton Review, July, 1858. 


impossible for the moral niglit which has so long rested 
upon that land to give place to a glorious day % If the 
Lord has declared that Ethiopia shall suddenly stretch 
forth her hands unto God, why should we be inclined 
to limit him in his power ? Is there any thing too hard 
for the Lord % If he be Almighty, if he can create at 
all, if he can bring a single atom of matter from the 
abyss of nothingness into existence, then what can he 
not do ? He only speaks, and it is done ; he commands, 
and it stands fast ; he spake, and the confusion of chaos 
was hushed, and the world — the beautiful cosmos — 
came forth with all its symmetry and grandeur. Then 
why should there be any thing impossible in the doc- 
trine that Ethiopia — benighted and outraged Ethiopia 
— shall suddenly stretch out her hands unto God ? 
Why should it be thought impossible for him to bring 
order out of the moral and intellectual chaos of that 

If the men who are skeptical as to the rapid evan- 
gelization and civilization of Africa could only catch 
the hum of the missionary schools scattered in various 
portions of that land ; could they only hear the earnest 
appeals of leading men among various tribes for Christ- 
ianity and its teachings ; could they hear, as we hear, 
who live on that barbarous coast, the murmurings of 
the fountains of the great deep of ignorance and super- 
stition, which are breaking up all around us ; could 
they hear the noise, which we hear, of the rattling of 
dry bones strewed over that immense valley, they 
would cease to doubt ; they would recognize, as we do, 
the promising future before us ; they would see that a 
day of life and joy is rapidly dawning upon Africa, 
and that there is a strong probability that He whose 
right it is to reign will suddenly come and take pos- 

26 Liberia's offering. 

"session of that land. It need not imply any pretension 
to prophetic insight for us to declare that we live in 
the shadows of remarkable events in the history of 
Africa — events whose consequences will be of trans- 
cendent importance and unending interest, not only to 
that down-trodden land, but to the whole human race 
Oh ! that the Christian Church throughout the world 
would be fervent in prayer and diligent in labor, that 
the day may be hastened when " Ethiopia shall stretch 
forth her hands unto God !" 

Have the black men of the United States no part to 
take in this work ? There lies the land of your fathers, 
in its natural beauty and glory — a country well- watered 
every where as the garden of the Loud. — a country of 
hills and valleys, of rivers and brooks, of fields and 

"Every prospect pleases 
And only man is vile." 

There it lies also in its spiritual desolation — millions 
of your brethren in the most awful destitution. Have 
you, O ye children of Africa ! no tear to shed, no sym- 
pathy to bestow, no effort to put forth for your gray- 
haired parent in sorrow and affliction ; for your breth- 
ren who have not, as you have, enjoyed the blessings 
of civilization and Christianity ? Are you ashamed of 
Africa because she has been plundered and rifled by 
wicked men? Do you turn your backs upon your 
mother because she is not high among the nations? 
Are you neglecting her with the hope of elevating 
yourselves in this country ? Oh ! remember that 
Europeans can not carry on the work so much need- 
ed in that land, and which experience proves that you 
are* so well fitted to achieve. This all-important work 
is yours. White men go there ; they wither and 



die. You were brought away by the permission of 
Providence, doubtless, that you might be prepared and 
fitted to return and instruct your brethren. If you 
turn away from the work to which Providence evident- 
ly calls you, with the selfish hope of elevating your- 
selves in this country, beware lest the calamities come 
upon you which are threatened to those who neglect to 
honor their parents. I give it as my most serious con- 
viction, that there will be no real prosperity among the 
Africans in this land, no proper respect shown them by 
the dominant race, so long as they persist, as a mass, in 
ignoring the claims of Africa upon them. All their 
efforts at self-elevation here which shall leave Africa 
out of the question, will be as " sowing to the wind." 

It is gratifying to find, however, that there has been, 
during the last few years, a decided change for the bet- 
ter in the feelings of many toward Africa. Formerly, 
those who rose up among the colored people of this 
country to plead for African civilization by her own 
descendants, were denounced as traitors, and were often 
in danger of being stoned as enemies to the peace and 
prosperity of their brethren. But now some of the 
leading men among you are taking large views of duty, 
and no longer consider it a mark of weakness to plead 
for the evangelization of millions of souls by their 
brethren in this land. They no longer consider it dis- 
graceful to urge colored men of intelligence and enter- 
prise to turn their attention to Africa. 

It has pleased Almighty God, in late years, as I have 
endeavored to show, to make interesting openings for 
the introduction of the Gospel into that land. Scores 
of doors which, a few years ago, were strongly bolted, 
are now, by the Divine agency, thrown open before 
the Church. Broad entrances are proffered the Gospel 

28 Liberia's offering. 

of Christ. Will not black men who have so freely 
received, hasten to give the waters of life to the perish- 
ing millions ? A call is to-day made upon you from 
your benighted brethren. Are you prepared to spurn 
it ? Have you no response for this Macedonian call ? 
I entreat you, by all the blessings you ha/ve enjoyed, by 
all the blessings you now enjoy, by all the blessings 
you hope to enjoy, remember Africa. I beseech you by 
the dire necessities of our people ; by their long night 
of sorrow and suffering ; by the cries louder than thun- 
der, that are wafted from the far interior, upon every 
wind that blows ; by the encouraging prospects before 
us; by all the promises of God — men and "brethren, 
come over and help us — help " Ethiopia to stretch forth 
her hands unto God." 





(First published in Liberia in August, 1857.) 

" Mislike me not for my complexion, 
The shadowed livery of the burnished sun, 
To whom I am a neighbor, and near bred ; 
Bring me the fairest creature northern born, 
Where Phoebus' fire scarce thaws the icicles, 
And let us make incisions . . . 
To prove whose blood is reddest, his or mine." 

— Shakspeake. 

" Alas ! what differs more than man from man ? 
And whence that difference? whence but from himself? 
For see the universal Race endowed 
With the same upright form." 




"' " Opinionum commenta die3 delet, naturae judicia confirmat." 

The African race, in consequence of its peculiar phy- 
sical characteristics, and the circumstances unfavorable 
to its progress in human improvement, by which, for 
more than two thousand years, it has been surrounded, 
has been generally and variously misrepresented and 
traduced. For centuries, has this race engaged the at- 
tention of the enlightened and scientific among other 
races. Its complexion and hair have furnished difficult 
ethnological problems ; and the fact that it has for a 
long time stood at the very bottom of civilization, and 
has seemed to be in the rear of every other people, sub- 
jected in its own land, and in all other lands, to the 
most degrading oppression, has suggested to some the 
idea, that it is naturally and irrecoverably, an inferior 
race, and that some secret and inevitable, though inex- 
plicable, influence operates upon it. 

Various theories have been started as furnishing sat- 
isfactory explanation of the causes operating upon this 
unfortunate race. Of these, none has been more strenu- 
ously urged by the opposers of the race than that which 
refers its condition to a malediction recorded in Genesis 
9 : 25, 26, 27. They who support this theory take the 
ground that the curse was denounced against Ham, the 
progenitor of the African race, and all his posterity; 

* Genesis 9 : 25, 26, 21. 

32 Liberia's offering. 

affirming that the general condition, character and capa- 
bilities of Africans point them out as the subjects of the 
malediction. Thus, by an argument a posteriori, not- 
withstanding the reading of the passage and other cir- 
cumstances plainly indicate that the curse was uttered 
against Canaan, the youngest son of Ham, they infer 
that it was uttered against Ham and all his posterity, 
simply because, on other grounds they can not, or will 
not, account for the condition of the African race. 
They prove the application of the curse from the condi- 
tion of the race, and then argue the necessity of that 
condition from the application of the curse. Does not 
such reasoning marvelously involve what logicians call 
the argumentum in orbem ? 

Before proceeding to notice the justness of that inter- 
pretation of Noah's malediction, which refers it to the 
African race, it may be proper to remark, that such an 
interpretation of that passage of Scripture was not in- 
sisted upon until the commencement of the unhallowed 
traffic in African slaves ; in which traffic, at its begin- 
ning, nearly all the nations of Christendom participated. 
The more conscientious among those who engaged in 
the trade, not being able to divest themselves of re- 
sponsibility in thus robbing of their rights beings, 
whose claims to humanity they could not disprove, 
" wrested " this passage of Scripture in justification of 
their proceedings ; affirming that the race was doomed 
to slavery, and that themselves were only instruments 
in verifying the prediction of its doom. The Church, 
also, countenanced these unjust proceedings, by giving 
the weight of its sanction to the erroneous, but design- 
ing construction put upon that passage of the word of 
God ; a passage evidently recorded to encourage and 
justify the Israelites in their invasion of the land of 


Canaan, and destruction of the Canaanites — a people, 
whom their own iniquities, and those of their ancestors, 
had rendered fit vessels of the wrath and righteous 
retribution of heaven. When we say that the Church 
countenanced these proceedings, we do not mean that it 
did this of* design, or with any view of deriving gain 
from the avarice of slave-traders. It being no doubt 
the prevalent opinion of the times, influential organs of 
the Church, not regarding it as any point of importance, 
requiring more extensive investigations, coincided with 
the popular view, that they might not, by insisting 
upon a point of apparently minor importance, offend 
the prejudices of the multitude and thus injure their 
influence.* Men, whose characters were otherwise irre- 
proachable, were induced by the habits of thought then 
prevailing, and by the supposed convenience of slave 
labor, to purchase the African captives brought to their 
shores. Some even of the most eminent divines were 
so far implicated in the error, that they, with perfect 
ease of conscience, held negroes in bondage. The dis- 
tinguished William Penn, Kev. George Whitefleld, of 
world-wide celebrity, President Edwards, author of 
several standard works in Theology, were sla/veliolders. 
But this " minor " point grew to such magnitude, and 
in its influence was so injurious, that both clergymen 
and laymen came forward and opposed the enslavement 
of Africans, as " contrary to the laws of God, and as 
outraging every principle of justice recognized among 
men ;" insisting that " God hath made of one blood all 
the nations of the earth ;" and that if the Gospel were 

* There are some in the Church who believe it right to accommodate the teach- 
ings of the Bible to the opinions and circumstances of men, when such accommoda- 
tion does not involve a palpable violation of any clearly revealed principle ; while 
others maintain that the " whole counsel of God," both expressed and implied, 
should be " declared," independently of the prejudices and opinions of men. 

34 libekia's offering. 

universally and rightly appealed to, no other bond 
would be known among men, but that of Christian 

But the common interpretation of the curse under 
consideration is still extant among some divines, par- 
ticularly in America, and is used by them to justify 
that system of enormous iniquity, which of certain sec- 
tions of that country is denominated the " peculiar in- 
stitution." They contend that it is fruitless to endeavor 
to elevate the African ; for he is doomed to perpetual 
servitude, and is, therefore, fitted for no other condi- 
tion."^ Hence, one of them did not hesitate to affirm 
that he felt a conscientious reluctance to offer a single 
prayer, if by that prayer all the slaves in the Union 
would be set free. 

It does not, however, admit of dispute, that the au- 
thority of divines of acknowledged ability, on either 
side of the question, is not to be despised ; and it is 
rather a dangerous thing for a mere neophyte, hardly 
yet from the schools, to differ where learned and vener- 
able doctors agree. But the question as to the true ap- 
plication of the curse must, after all, be decided, not by 
authority, but by the weight of argument in support of 
the positions assumed. Therefore, while yielding what 

* Being in the city of New- York on the Thanksgiving Day of 1850, we were in- 
vited by Kev. J. B. Pinney to attend divine services at one of the most popular and 
influential churches in that city. The pastor, a D.D. of eminent learning and abil- 
ity, preached a political discourse having reference to the Fugitive Slave Law, then 
recently enacted. In the course of his sermon, which was in justification of the 
law, the minister took a view of the condition and character of the colored people 
in the United States, in which he made an assertion to the effect, that the efforts of 
those who were endeavoring to elevate Africans in America were, and always would 
be, fruitless. "The decree," he remarked, "has gone forth, and we can not re- 
verse it." " Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be unto his breth- 
ren." That was the first of our hearing such weight given to that interpretation 
and application of Noah's malediction ; and though not over eighteen years old, we 
experienced, as it were, an intuitive revulsion of mind never to be forgotten. 

Liberia's offering. 35 

we conceive to be a reasonable submission to authority, 
we venture to differ most decidedly from the " doctors." 
But in differing from them, we are prepared to make 
proper allowance. They have doubtless been " brought 
up to their opinions" upon this subject ; and, regarding 
the whole matter as of inconsiderable importance, they 
do not exert themselves to make further investigations 
in reference to it. It is a fact that when men maintain 
views inherited from their ancestors, and which accord 
with their inclinations, they never allow the possibility 
of their being wrong to trouble them ; and they care 
not to inquire into the grounds of such views, lest such 
inquiry lead to a detection of their error, and consequent 
mortification of their pride. They love their opinions, 
of whatever nature they are, and they cleave to them, 
acting on the principle : " My opinions, may they al- 
ways be right ; but my opinions, right or wrong." 

But let us see from the reading of Genesis 9 : 25, 26, 
27, and from certain historical circumstances, whether 
that is a fair interpretation which applies that prophecy 
to the African race : 

" And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had 
done unto him. And he said : ' Cursed be Canaan ; a servant of servants 
shall he be unto his brethren.' And he said : ' Blessed be the Lord God of 
Shem ; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and 
he shall dwell in the tents of Shem ; and Canaan shall be his servant.' " 

Now it seems to us that the most natural inference 
which a candid reader would make from this passage 
is, that the curse was denounced against Ham in that 
branch of his posterity which descended from Canaan. 
To establish the hypothesis that the curse includes all 
the posterity of Ham, it appears to us necessary that 
one of three things be proved to have been the fact. 
First. It must be proved that the curse was pronounced 

36 Liberia's offering. 

upon Ham himself; or, secondly, that it was pro- 
nounced upon each of his sons individually ; or, third- 
ly, if pronounced upon Canaan, that he was the only 
offspring of Ham. But we know that no one of these 
was the fact : whence the inference is obvious. The 
question we now propose to consider is not whether it 
is agreeable to our ideas of justice that the offender, 
Ham, should escape, and the punishment be inflicted 
upon one of his sons ; but whether there exist any just 
grounds, apart from the reading of our version, for the 
conclusion that the malediction was uttered against 
Canaan, and was restricted in its influence to his pos- 

It is said that " Noah awoke from his wine, and knew 
what his younger son had done unto him." Hebraists 
tell us that the word rendered younger often means, in 
the original, Utile, and may be so rendered here. Some 
of the Jewish commentators on this passage say that 
Canaan, the Utile son, or grandson of Noah, first discov- 
ered his father's nakedness, and told it to his father 
Ham, who informed Shem and Japheth. When Noah 
awoke, knowing what his younger, or Utile, son had 
done unto him, he said : " Cursed be Canaan, a servant 
of servants shall he be unto his brethren." Other He- 
brew scholars, wishing to disprove the explanation of 
the Rabbins, and thus include Ham, with all his pos- 
terity under the curse, tell us that the prophecy is writ- 
ten in Hebrew verse, and, according to the usual licenses 
in poetical composition, is elliptical : that for the com- 
pletion of the sentence, Ham the father of must be sup- 
plied in every instance before the word Canaan ; and 
that this phrase has been supplied in some of the Greek 
coj)ies of the Old Testament. With this addition, the 
sentence would stand, " Cursed he Ham the father of 

Liberia's offering. 37 

Canaan? etc., according to which reading, Ham would 
really be the subject of the malediction. 

But they supply this ellipsis, because, rejecting the 
hypothesis of the Rabbins, and supposing, as the read- 
ing of our version implies, that it was Ham who dis- 
covered the nakedness of Noah, they contend that it 
would have been unjust to have punished Canaan for 
the iniquity of his father. But would there have been 
any thing more unjust in this, than in other instances in 
which God has visited the iniquity of the fathers upon 
their impenitent children ? Does not Jehovah speak of 
himself as " visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon 
the children unto the third and fourth generation of 
them that hate him " ? The dying patriarch Jacob, pre- 
dicting the future condition of his sons, declared to 
Beuben his first-born, whose crime he particularized, 
" Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel ;" of Simeon 
and Levi, in consequence of their sins, he said : " I will 
divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel." 
(Genesis 49.) But these curses were intended to fall 
with their full weight, not upon the persons of Reuben, 
Simeon, and Levi, but upon their posterity. Witness 
the case of Ahab, whose accumulated and aggravated 
iniquities incensed the God of Israel against him. The 
sacred historian informs us that, after the prophet had 
threatened him with the judgments of God for his 
transgressions, he showed signs of repentance, where- 
upon the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, 
saying : " Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself be- 
fore me ? because he humbleth himself before me, I will 
not bring the evil in his days : but in his son's days will 
I bring the evil upon his house." (1 Kings 21 : 28, 29.) 

The Jews in the time of our Saviour, seem to have 
regarded it as a common principle in the Divine opera- 

38 Liberia's offering. 

tions to visit the iniquity of parents upon their child- 
ren ; hence, their question with reference to the man 
" blind from his birth." (John 9.) But even if this 
principle were not manifest in the Divine dealings, 
would it be any more unjust in the " Judge of all the 
earth," to punish Canaan for the iniquity of his father, 
than to proscribe Esau from his rights and privileges 
before he was bom ; and, therefore, before, as the Apos- 
tle says, he had done either good or evil ? There are, 
however, grounds within the reach of careful investiga- 
tion, not incompatible with the nature and attributes of 
God, upon which a satisfactory disposition may be 
made of these apparent difficulties. 

But a rejection of the ellipsis contended for by some 
is not essential to the maintaining of our position, for if 
we admit the ellipsis, it does not appear why the 
patriarch should have designated Ham, who had several 
sons, as the father of Canaan any more than as the 
father of any other of his sons, unless it be that the in- 
dividual is mentioned in connection with Ham, whom 
the curse is intended to affect, and to whom it was re- 
stricted. " Canaan alone in his descendants is cursed, 
and Ham only in that branch of his posterity."* The 
curse upon Canaan was properly a curse upon the Ca- 
naanites. God, foreseeing the wickedness of this peo- 
ple, commissioned Noah to pronounce a curse upon 
them, and to devote them to servitude and misery, 
which their common vices and iniquities would deserve. 
And this account was plainly written by Moses, for the 
encouragement of the Israelites, to support and animate 
them in their expedition against a people who, by their 
sins, had forfeited the divine protection, and were des- 
tined to slavery from the days of Noah.f " It follows," 

* Richard Watson, 
f Bishop Newton's Dissertations on the Prophecies. 

libeeia's offering. 39 

says Richard Watson, " that the subjugation of the Ca- 
naanitish races fulfills the prophecy." 

Let us now notice the events that transpired after 
the curse, and as recorded in sacred and profane history. 
The descendants of Canaan peopled that region of coun- 
try extending along the eastern coast of the Mediter- 
ranean. The posterity of Cush, the eldest son of Ham, 
it is agreed, spread over a great portion of Southern 
Asia, and first peopled the countries to the south of 
Egypt, Nubia and Abyssinia, and parts further to the 
south and ' west ; Mizraim, the second son of Ham, is 
said to have been the father of the Egyptians. A few 
hundred years after the utterance of Noah's malediction, 
we find Jehovah himself uttering a prediction, strangely 
at variance with the malediction, if the hypothesis that 
it included Ham and all his posterity be correct. 

God said to Abraham, the father of the Jewish na- 
tion, who were descendants of Shem : " Know of a 
surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that 
is not theirs (in Egypt) and shall serve them ; and 
they (the posterity of Ham) shall afflict them four hun- 
dred years." (Genesis 15.) Every one knows the 
severe bondage which the Israelites endured in Egypt 
under the Egyptians. The Egyptians were the de- 
scendants of Ham ; the Jews, the descendants of Shem ; 
the Jews were in servitude to the Egyptians, therefore 
Shem was the servant of Ham — a palpable reversion of 
the malediction, if it be true that it included all the 
posterity of Ham. 

Again : Shishak, King of Egypt, a descendant of 
Ham, subdued Rehoboam, King of Judah, a descendant 
of Shem, (1 Kings 14 : 25.) It is said that Sesostris, 
King of Egypt, conquered a great part of Europe and 
Asia. Here are instances of Ham's prevailing over both 

40 libeeia's offeking. 

Shem and Japheth. For a long time after the emanci- 
pation of the Israelites from Egypt, and even after they 
had established themselves and gotten a name in Ca- 
naan, the Egyptians exercised a considerable influence 
over their affairs, both political and religious. Even 
down to the days of King Solomon was this Egyptian 
influence felt among the Jews, and King Solomon, the 
wisest of monarchs, was so affected by it, as to violate 
the commands of God, in order to obey its dictates. (1 
Kings 10 : 28, 29 ; Deut. 17 : 16.) In all this does 
Shem appear to be ruling Ham ? No ; it was not the 
intention of the malediction that either Mizraim or 
Cush, whose descendants peopled Africa, should be a 
servant of servants to Shem ; but it did intend that the 
descendants of Canaan, whom it distinctly mentions, 
should be so related to Shem ; and hence, when the 
cup of iniquity of the Canaanites was full, when, by 
their own wickedness, they had merited subjugation 
and extirpation, God brought forth the people whom 
he designed as the executors of his judgments, from 
Egyptian bondage, and led them into Canaan.; and, as 
a guarantee to them (for they were ignorant and timid 
emancipated slaves) that they should overcome the 
" giants, the sons of Anak, in whose sight they were as 
grasshoppers,"* he directed Moses to record the male- 
diction : " Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall 
he be unto his brethren," 

The poor Israelites, full of the mental and physical 
effects of slavery, doubtless approached the confines of 
the Canaanites, with tremulous steps, in view of con- 
flicts with a formidable people, for which they, mere 
slaves, or the offspring of slaves, felt entirely unpre- 
pared. But as they thus trembled, their minds were 

* Numbers 13 : 33. 


directed to tlie prediction : " A servant of servants 
shall Canaan be unto his brethren." Not a servant of 
princes ; not a servant of warriors ; but a servant of 
servants — of persons precisely in their condition. How 
peculiarly adapted to them was such a prophecy at that 
time ! How encouraging, as, " on the borders of the 
Jordan, they 

" lingered, shivering, 

And feared to launch away." 

They are animated ; they cross the Jordan ; city after 
city of the Canaanites falls before them; tribe after 
tribe is subdued; until, obtaining possession of the 
whole land, they reduce the Canaanites either to 
slavery or extermination. Thus was the prediction of 
Noah fulfilled. Shem, himself a servant, makes a serv- 
ant of Canaan, literally verifying the prophecy : " A 
servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren." In 
mercy, then, to the Jews of old, was this prophecy 
recorded, and not to afford grounds to prejudiced and 
avaricious men for enslaving a people to whom it has 
no more reference than it has to the descendants of 

The fact that, in modern times, Africans have been 
extensively enslaved by other races, is no argument in 
favor of the hypothesis, which makes them subjects of 
the malediction ; for other peoples, in other parts of 
the world, have also been and are now enslaved.* 

* A Constantinople correspondent of the London Morning Chronicle wrote to 
that paper, in 1854, as follows : 

u When I last wrote, I forgot to inclose you the Imperial firmans issued by the 
Sultan for the suppression of the slave-trade. They read very well, and would 
tend to persuade strangers that this traffic is really on the point of being put a 
stop to. The promulgation and execution of a law are two very different things 
in Turkey. The public slave-market of Constantinople has ceased to exist for some 
years, but the slave-trade has not diminished. The same number are bought and 
sold ad libitum. The only difference is, that the slave-merchant has his private 

42 Liberia's offering. 

There are other causes than the curse pronounced upon 
Canaan, tp which the enslavement of Africans may be 
and should be referred. 


The affairs of nations, as of individuals, it must be 
admitted, are constantly beneath the immediate observ- 
ation and control of Jehovah, who " doeth according to 
his will in the army of heaven and among the inhabit- 
ants of the earth." His name, as proclaimed by him- 
self, is, " The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long- 

means clear the guilty." In the case of no other 
people has the Almighty more clearly manifested this 
sublime character, in every feature of it, than in the 
case of Africans. He will by no means clear the guilty. 
Even in those upon whom he has set his love will he 
not tolerate transgression. Does Jacob, the Israel of 
God, commit sin? Notice his subsequent years, and 
see in their numerous and painful vicissitudes, in his 
frequent anxieties, fears and distresses — evidences of 
God's displeasure — castigations for his iniquities. Wit- 
ness the sin of David, and his subsequent sufferings. 
Mark also the case of Solomon and others ; all of which 

dwelling. The promulgation of the firman may have some slight influence, but it 
will be very slight ; and it is, therefore, as well to say so, and expose how dust is 
thrown into the eyes of the European public. ... As regards the sale and pur- 
chase of slaves in Circassia, the desire and ambition of a Circassian girl is to be 
sold at Constantinople. She has a chance if she is beautiful, of becoming Sultana, 
or one of the Sultanas, or at least she flatters herself that her good looks will open 
to her the harem of some opulent Pacha. It must not be disguised that our 
endeavors to suppress the Circassian slave-trade, though no doubt meritorious, and 
founded on motives of philanthropy, will be regarded in a very different light by 
the Circassians, and gain us many an enemy amongst them." 

Liberia's offering. 43 

testify to the fact that suffering is consequent upon sin. 
Indeed, there is no truth more clearly taught in the 
book of divine revelation, and none more abundantly 
attested in the history and experience of man, than 
that punishment is inseparable from crime. God has 
so arranged things ; he has so established the laws both 
of the physical and moral world, that they can not be 
violated with impunity. If the violator of the moral 
law appear not outwardly to suffer, yet he can not 
effectually shut out from his heart that deep remorse, 
and those mental distresses which have torment, and 
which are said to be the forebodings of the "worm 
that never dies." And this connection of punishment 
with crime has been noticed by observing and reflect- 
ing men of all ages and countries, whether possessing 
the light of revelation or not. Notice the words of 
Horace :* 

11 Raro antecedentem scelestum 
Deseruit pede Poena claudo." 

These lines imply that though the " execution of sen- 
tence against an evil work " may be delayed, yet it will 
certainly overtake the criminal. Punishment is repre- 
sented as " slow of foot," yet steadily pursuing the 
offender. And this law of the moral world is not con- 
fined to cases of individuals. Nations sometimes in- 
fringe this law, and as nations they suffer. Illustra- 
tions of this fact are numerous in the world's history • 
from the eating of 

" The fruit 

Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste 
Brought death into the world, and all our woe," 

down to the present time. Witness the destruction of 
the cities of the plain of Sodom ; the extermination of 

* Another Roman writer says : M Sera tamen tacitis poena venit pedibits." 

44 Liberia's offering. 

tlie nations of Canaan ; the wholesale submersion and 
extirpation of the Egyptians in the Red Sea ; the dis- 
persion and denationalization of the Israelites ; the 
diminished and diminishing numbers of the Indians of 
North- America ; and lastly, the enslavement of Afri- 
cans — all the effects of sin. 

For thousands of years has Africa been without a 
knowledge of God. While the Egyptians excelled all 
other nations in their acquaintance with and cultivation 
of the arts and sciences, they were destitute of the true 
wisdom. They, as well as other Africans, evidently, at 
one time, possessed a knowledge of the true God, but 
they neglected it ; and in this consists their crime, that 
when they knew God, " they glorified him not as God, 
neither were thankful ; they did not like to retain God 
in their knowledge ;" therefore " God gave them over to 
a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not 
convenient ;" and they fell into all that enormity and 
blackness of crime which the Apostle so graphically 
depicts in the first chapter of Romans. And if such 
was their character in the Apostle's days — two thou- 
sand years ago — what must it be now when we con- 
sider that^human nature left to itself never ameliorates, 
but grows worse and worse. What an awful picture 
of depravity and wickedness must present itself to the 
pure eye of Jehovah ! — depravity and wickedness 
which, brought on by the voluntary acts of the fathers, 
have been copied and improved upon by the children. 

Now the Judge of all the earth would have done no 
injustice to the Africans had he left them to pursue the 
course of wickedness entered upon by their fathers, and 
persevered in by themselves, until, filling up the cup 
of .their iniquity, they had rendered themselves fit ves- 
sels of his wrath. But he determined otherwise with 


respect to this portion of the descendants of Ham ; and 
even while iniquity, like a dense cloud, blackened 
their moral atmosphere, He, the " Lord God, merciful 
and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness 
and truth," gave promises with reference to their wicked 
land. " Princes shall come out of Egypt ; Ethiopia 
shall soon stretch out her hands unto God." (Psalm 
68 : 31.) " From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my 
suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall 
bring mine offering." (Zeph. 3 : 10.) 

But Ethiopia is guilty. The guilt of centuries over- 
spreads the whole land, so aggravated and horrible that 
there can be no communication between its inhabitants 
and the King of kings. No one of the countless mul- 
titudes is seeking for God ; no one is asking after his 
Maker. The Almighty, therefore, in keeping with his 
character of " by no means clearing the guilty," deter- 
mines to teach the inhabitants of this dark land " right- 
eousness" by first sending his " judgments" among 
them. He suffers them to be carried into captivity in 
fulfillment of a prophecy recorded in Isaiah 18 : 1, 2 : 
" Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is 
beyond the rivers of Ethiopia : that sendetl^ ambassa- 
dors by the sea, even in vessels of bulrushes upon the 
waters. Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation scattered 
and peeled, to a people terrible from their beginning 
hitherto ; a nation meted out and trodden down, whose 
land the rivers have spoiled." For years has He, in his 
sovereign justice, permitted the cruel traffic -in African 
slaves to be perpetrated with the utmost cruelty on the 
part of the traders, and unprecedented suffering on the 
part of the poor African ; so that in numerous instances 
death has seemed preferable to life. And even at this 
moment poor Africans are groaning beneath intolera- 

46 Liberia's offering. 

ble burdens either of physical maltreatment or of 
mental depression and degradation. Agreeably to the 
prophecy, we are, indeed, " a nation scattered and peeled, 
meted out and trodden down," reaping, however, the 
fruits of our own doings. 

But in the chapter in Isaiah just quoted, there is a 
glorious promise to the scattered people — a promise 
like shining borders to a black and threatening cloud. 
Mark the passage, verse seventh, " In that time," the 
time of their enthrallment, " shall the present be 
brought unto the Lord of hosts of a people scattered 
and peeled, and from a people terrible from their begin- 
ning hitherto ; a nation meted out and trodden under 
foot, whose land the rivers have spoiled, to the place of 
the name of the Lord of hosts, the mount of Zion."* 
Are not these prophecies coming to pass? Are not 
Africans " meted out and trodden down," though they 
are bringing " presents unto the Lord of hosts," in the 
land of their captivity ? Yes, it is matter of thankful- 
ness that, in the land of their oppression, and in the 
very depths of their affliction, the Most High, who " is 
no respecter of persons," has condescended to visit this 
people, and despite the efforts of their oppressors to 
debar them from the light of science, God has revealed 
unto them the " true Light ;" while they have been driv- 
en away from the streams of earthly learning, they have 
been welcomed to the very fountain of Knowledge, 
whence they have had large and "liberal" draughts, 
without upbraidings. The Holy Spirit has discovered 
'to them their guilt as transgressors of the divine law, 
and has led them, burdened with the load of sin, to 
the foot of the same cross to which others resort, where 

* Such an application of this prophecy is objected to by some, but no satisfac- 
tory reason is assigned why it should not be so applied. 

libekia's offering. 47 

they have found pardon and peace in believing. They 
have been clothed with the same robe of the Redeem- 
er's righteousness with which others are clothed, and 
the same " songs of praises " have been put into their 
mouths ; they have received the same unerring " testi- 
mony " that they are the children of God, and they 
enjoy the same comfortable assurance that if their 
earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, they 
have a building of God, an house not made with hands, 
eternal in the heavens. (2 Cor. 5 : 1.) Are not these 
blessings a glorious compensation for our afflictions? 
Are they not the " rememberings of mercy in the midst 
of deserved wrath," for which it becomes us to feel 
unfeignedly thankful ? Yes, there is an inward " peace," 
a "joy unspeakable," which outward circumstances can 
not affect. There is a " liberty unsung by poets, which 
all the powers of earth and hell confederate can not 
take away." Such "peace," such "joy," such "liberty," 
many a plantation-slave enjoys. 

" The oppressor holds 

His body bound, but knows not what a range 
His spirit takes, unconscious of a chain ; 
And that to bind Mm is a vain attempt, 
Whom God delights in, and in whom he dwells." 

Whenever we feel or hear of the oppressions, which 
men of another race inflict upon us, and the miseries to 
which they arrogantly subject us, it is natural for feel- 
ings of indignation to arise within us against those who 
are the immediate cause of such sufferings ; since we 
know that they, to gratify pride, prejudice, or malignity, 
afflict us; not designing good, but evil. But when, 
upon reflection, we look upon all evils as under the 
control of God, going no further than he permits them 
to go ; and when we consider what have been our de- 

48 Liberia's offering. 

merits as a people, and that, notwithstanding their 
enormity, God has been merciful to us, we can not but 
be grateful. " He has not dealt with us after our sins, 
neither rewarded us according to our iniquities." He 
has not dealt so with any nation. Witness his dealings 
with the Canaanites. He suffered the cup of their ini- 
quity to become full., and then caused them to drink 
the very dregs thereof, consigning them to the " black- 
ness of darkness forever." Witness the fearful judg- 
ments which have befallen the North- American Indians. 
They have not suffered slavery, but their iniquities 
have been more severely visited than those of the Afri- 
cans. They have melted away under the retributive 
visitations of the Judge of all the earth, leaving no 
name behind them ; perishing in their iniquities with- 
out the blessings of the Gospel. But our case has been 
different. Carried away from home to a distant land, 
and subjected to a slavery of the most cruel kind, we 
have survived. We still retain our distinct character 
as a people, so that it may be said of us, as of the Is- 
raelites in Egypt : " The more they afflicted them the 
more they multiplied and grew." (Exodus 1 : 12.) 
And may not this fact, so mysterious to many, be solved 
by the consideration that that all-wise and merciful 
Providence, which has watched over us in all our afflic- 
tions, preserves us for a glorious future destiny \ There 
is now a prospect that, like the Jews, we shall return 
from our grievous bondage to the land given to our 
fathers. A small number have already returned — the 
precursors of a powerful exodus — bearing with them 
spoils infinitely richer than Egyptian treasure, even the 
blessings of civilization and of the Christian religion. 
Bui; we return not as the executors of God's wrath. 
No ; we bear no such fearful message to Africa. We 


come as the almoners of Heaven's blessings, not to ex- 
terminate the inhabitants of the land, but to root up 
and destroy their iniquities. We come to demolish the 
kingdom of Satan, and to establish that kingdom which 
consists in righteousness and peace and " joy in the Holy 
Ghost:" subjection to whose Sovereign elevates and 
dignifies human nature ; conferring a liberty, 

" which persecution, fraud, 

Oppressions, prisons, have no power to bind ; 
Which whoso tastes can be enslaved no more — 
'Tis liberty of heart, derived from heaven." 

But let it not for one moment be supposed that, because 
we hold that our oppressions and afflictions are under 
the immediate permission of God, therefore we justify 
our oppressors in their cruel treatment of us. By no 
means. We hold that all men, with respect to each 
other, are born equally free, having the same " inalien- 
able right to life, liberty, and property ;" and that they 
who, by reason of superior power, assumed authority, 
or for any other cause deprive their fellow-men of those 
rights, are robbers, in the strictest sense of that word, 
and, as such, are guilty and fearfully responsible to the 
" Judge of all the Earth." We indorse the sentiment 
of Wordsworth, that 

" Our life is turned 
Out of its course, whenever Man is made 
An offering, or a sacrifice, a tool, 
Or implement, a passive thing employed 
As a brute mean, without acknowledgment 
Of common right or interest in the end." 

They who urge the malediction of Noah, to justify 
themselves in metamorphosing a whole race of men into 
" offerings," " sacrifices," " tools," " implements," are 

50 Liberia's offeking. 

under a fatal hallucination which, unless they discover 
it in time for repentance, will sink them " deeper than 
the grave." They have made themselves the executors 
of God's judgments, and that not from a desire to glori- 
fy him, but to indulge a criminal avarice, which is 
gratified only by the very life-blood of the African. 
An American divine,* who hates oppression with a 
perfect hatred, used the following strong language, on 
this subject, in a discourse preached in New- York City, 
October 20, 1856 : 

"You pretend to be, by charter from Heaven, the ministers of God's 
vengeance against a whole continent of men — a whole race of mankind — 
whom, in the execution of that vengeance, you are to hold and sell as your 
property. You are the trustees of this will of Jehovah, the executors of 
this inheritance of wrath, and as such you are to be paid for your trouble in 
proving the instrument, and carrying its details mto operation, by assuming 
the objects of the curse as your property. Where is the sentence in which 
God ever appointed you, the Anglo-Saxon race, you, the mixture of all races - 
under heaven ; you, who can not tell whether the blood of Shem, Ham, or 
Japheth mingles in your veins ; you, the asserters of a right to traffic in 
human flesh ; you, worse than the Jews, by this very claim more degraded, 
more debased in your moral principles, than the lowest tribes of Jews ever 
swept for their sins from the Promised Land ; where is the sentence in 
which God ever appointed you, four thousand years after Noah and his 
children had gone to their graves in peace, to be the executors of Noah's 
will, with the whole inheritance given to you as your property, for your 
profit, the reward of your faithfulness in fulfilling God's curse ? Where is 
the designation of the race whom you pounce upon by this mighty forgery, 
and where the designation of the race commissioned to pounce upon them f 
You might as well go to Russia and take the subjects of the Czar. You 
might as well go to England and take your cousins of the sea-girt isle, the 
descendants of your own great-grandfathers. You have no more claim upon 
the Africans than you have upon the Aborigines of the Rocky Moun- 


The assumptions of some of the Anglo-Saxons with 
reference to the African race, are surely unwarrantable. 
'They stultify history, sacred and profane, and set up 

* Rev. George B. Cheever, D.D. 


theological and philosophical theories in opposition to 
common-sense, to carry their point. But " the days of 
arbitrary authority are numbered, and, even in matters 
of theology, men will think and decide as free and ra- 
tional beings." 


as a result of Noah's malediction, has been attributed 
to the African race, as a whole — a traducement which, 
in consequence of the unfavorable circumstances of the 
race, has gained considerable currency. But when and 
where has this been tested and proved ? Does it find 
proof in the case of James McCune Smith, the learned 
and scientific colored physician of New- York % Is it 
established in the case of Frederick Douglass, formerly 
a slave, now a celebrated orator and editor ? Where 
has it been demonstrated ? In the cases of Daniel A. 
Payne, the African theologian and poet, of Cincinnati, 
and of J. M. Whitfield, poet and editor, of Buffalo ? 
Does the remarkable Miss Frances Watkins, the poetic 
genius, of Baltimore, afford an illustration ? Is there 
furnished an instance in the celebrated Miss Elizabeth 
Greenfield, the musical genius of the United States, and 
the successful rival of Jenny Lind? We might ask 
similar questions with respect to numerous other Afri- 
cans, but time would fail us.* 

* The Rev. John Leighton Wilson, possessed of an extensive experience of 
African character in its barbarous and untutored state, records the following testi- 
mony : " Some of the best specimens of oratory may be heard in these African as- 
semblies. Their popular speakers show almost as much skill in the use of happy 
illustrations, striking analogies, pointed argument, historical details, biting irony, as 
any set of public speakers in the world ; and for ease, grace, and naturalness of 
manner, they are perhaps unsurpassed." — Western Africa, p. 132. 

The Veys, though not numerous or powerful, have recently invented an alpha- 
bet for writing their own language, and are enjoying the blessings of a written sys- 

52 Liberia's offering. 

They who circulate the slander of negro intellectual 
obtuseness, can produce no cases that would fairly and 
satisfactorily establish their aspersion. They are our 
oppressors, and, taking us in the midst of our oppres- 
sion, they fancy they see proofs of their dogma. They 
find what they regard as moral demonstrations of it, in 
the cases of " Sambo," and " Juba," and " Topsy," all 
of corn-field birth, rearing, and notoriety. The induc- 
tive method of reasoning is not tolerated in their logic 
with reference to our race. Arguments in our favor 
which would be regarded as conclusive in regard to any 
other race, are unceremoniously discarded. Isolated 
cases the most unfavorable are taken as fair specimens 
of the character of the whole race. The intellectual 
and moral character of the African in freedom is infer- 

tem, for which they are entirely indebted to their own ingenuity and enterprise. 
This is, undoubtedly, one of the most remarkable achievements of this or any other 
age, and is itself enough to silence forever the cavils and sneers of those who think 
so contemptuously of the intellectual endowments of the African race. The charac- 
ters used in this system are all new, and were invented by the people themselves 
within the last twenty years. — Ibid. p. 95. 

The Negro and the Needle. — It is not generally known that for the origin of 
the needle manufacture we are indebted to the negro. The earliest record of 
needle-making in England is in the year 1545, in the reign of Henry VIII., and it 
is supposed that this useful branch of industry was introduced by a Moor from 
Spain. The historian Stowe tells us that needles were sold in Cheapside and other 
busy streets in London in the reign of Queen Mary, and were at that time made by 
a Spanish negro, who refused to discover the secret of his art. Another authority 
states that the art of making steel needles was lost at the negro's death, but was 
afterwards revived by a German in 1566. Probably these facts may account for 
the crest of the needle-makers' coat-of-arms being the head of a negro. — American 

Mr. Aaron Roberts, a colored man in Philadelphia, has invented a valuable aid 
to the fire department. It is constructed on the principle of a telescope, occupying 
a very small space when closed, but capable of being extended to a hight of some 
sixty feet, by means of concealed cogs. Above this is a branch-pipe, made flexible, 
and worked in any direction by chains reaching the ground. The machine can be 
run into a narrow alley, and by attaching a hose to a fire-plug, the water will be 
forced to the top, and thence directed at the pleasure of the operator. Safety is 
thus afforded to the firemen, and instant application may be made to any part of a 
burning building. — The National Magazine, August, 1856. 

Liberia's offering. 53 

red from wliat it is in slavery, as though the two con- 
ditions were exactly similar ; or as though the African 
were not, as other men, influenced by circumstances ; so 
that if the "black man, in the midst of cruel oppressions, 
of which for centuries he has been the subject, gives 
evidence of the legitimate influences of such oppres- 
sions, and does not come forward, though fettered in 
mind and body, and astonish the world by inventions 
and discoveries, it follows, according to their reasoning, 
that, in a condition free and untrammeled, he will be 
both mentally and physically the same ; he is, there- 
fore, set down as belonging to an inferior order of 
beings, fitted only for servitude — liberty and slavery in 
their effects upon him, are synonymous and convertible 
terms. In judging of Anglo-Saxons, one set of princi- 
ples is applied ; in judging of Africans, another. 

It can not be truly affirmed that inferences proceeding 
on such assumptions wait for refutation ; but those who 
avail themselves of them follow prejudice more than 
judgment. And so strongly does their prejudice against 
the African bias their minds, that we often find even 
the profoundest of them indulging in such ont-sided 
argument. John C. Calhoun, of South - Carolina, is 
lauded to the skies by some, on account of his wonder- 
ful powers of induction : and he was, doubtless, on 
many subjects, a powerful inductive reasoner ; yet every 
one knows the bold and unblushing sophistry which 
he employed with reference to the African race.* 

Let the candid among the enemies of our race, take, 

* The writer was refused admittance to a literary institution in the United 
States, on the ground that the faculty had failed to realize their expectations in one 
or two colored persons whom they had educated. The inductive reasoning here 
employed was, of course, most conclusive. Some colored persons abuse their edu- 
cation, therefore all colored persons should be excluded from institutions of learn- 
ing. The minor proposition is made to contain the major. Excellent logic ! 

54: libekia's offering. 

as far as they know, all the cases of Africans, who have 
enjoyed any opportunities of intellectual development 
and improvement, and see if the majority have not pro- 
fitably availed themselves of those opportunities ; or 
take an African of ordinary mind, and a Caucasian of 
like capacity, place them both under the same instruc- 
tions, with equal privileges, and we hazard nothing by 
saying that the Caucasian will not excel the African, if, 
indeed, he keep pace with him. This has been tested, 
and the result has turned out in favor of the African. 
If, then, under given circumstances, the Caucasian will 
arrive at a certain point of intellectual improvement, 
and under the same circumstances, as the facts of a fair 
induction show, the African will attain to the same 
point, where is the absolute superiority of the Cauca- 
sian ? Where is the peculiar mental obtuseness of the 
African ? Where ? 

11 1 have often wondered," says our excellent President Benson,* " from 
whence sprang the silly aspersion of * the incapacity of the colored race for 
self-government.' I have frequently taxed my mind for a discovery of the 
instances upon which the stigma is based. With the exception of our own, 
Hayti, I, believe, is the only professed colored civilized and independent 
government. It is true, that unfortunate country has been repeatedly con- 
vulsed by revolutions and dethronements ; but these have neither been re- 
stricted nor peculiar to her history ; similar causes have produced similar 
effects among other nations, not of African descent, but purely Caucasian. 
The South- American States, almost without exception, have been equally 
prolific of civil wars and revolutions ; in fact, we can trace them even into 
highly civilized Europe, and as not unfrequently occurring among some of 
the most refined nations of that enlightened continent ; nor would proud 
Albion have J^een exempted from them, for so long a space as that which 
has succeeded the seventeenth century, if the Protestant faith, which con- 
stitutes the basis of that righteousness which exalts a nation, had hot taken 
so deep root in that country. And if I mistake not, the same cause is to be 
assigned for the almost unparalleled success with which the confederate 
States of North-America have been crowned, .... and for lack of 
which, Hayti, in common with some other governments, to which allusion 

* Inaugural Address, January 7th, 1856. 

libekia's offering. 55 

has been made, failed in demonstrating an equal capacity for self-govern- 
ment ; and surely the civil wars of Hayti are no more an argument (if as 
much so) against the capacity of the colored race for self-government, than 
the multiplied revolutions of the other governments alluded to, are against 
that of the Caucasian race." 


The physiognomical character of Africans is also 
urged as an argument in favor of the servile destiny of 
the race. This being the popular opinion, the greatest 
unfairness is generally practiced in the representations 
which Caucasian naturalists and ethnologists make of 
African features. This may appear a small matter, but 
we do not deem it altogether unworthy of notice. No 
matter how men, in their public opinions, may ridicule 
as absurd arguments thus founded, yet, in their private 
feelings, they are to a great extent influenced by them. 
We have observed that, generally in Geographies or 
books on ethnography, the heads given as proper speci- 
mens of the African are pictures of some degraded 
slaves of poor physical development ; while to repre- 
sent the Caucasian race, the head of some philosopher, 
or of some very beautiful female is presented as a fair 
specimen of that whole race. They give " the highest 
type of the European and the lowest type of the negro." 
Now we say this is unjust. That there are irregulari- 
ties in the African features, is no reason that in repre- 
senting them the very worst should be taken as speci- 
mens. This is done, however, to carry out the idea of 
phrenological inferiority to the other races, at least to 
the Anglo-Saxon race. Hence, whenever any one of 
this doomed people gives evidence of superior ability 
and talents, the disposition is to deny his connection 
with the genuine negro. No candid and unprejudiced 
mind can read with patience the unwarrantable de- 

56 Liberia's offering. 

scription famished by Mr. Bowen, an American mis- 
sionary adventurer on this coast, of what he calls " the 
time or typical negro."* It is a pandering to prejudices 
entirely unpardonable in one of his profession, whose 
object should be to eradicate, and not to foster the seed 
of error. And nothing is more instinctively ridiculous 
than his labored but resultless endeavor to prove that 
all the interior native tribes of regular and agreeable 
features, and of favorable mental characteristics, are the 
descendants of Europeans. If such are the results of 
his philosophical and scientific investigations, it would 
have been more creditable to his reputation, and of less 
disservice to the cause of truth, to have confined himself 
to the regions of common-sense. 

But the intellectual character of a race can not fairly 
be argued from the physical appearance of some of its 
individuals. The external appearance is not always 
the index of the intellectual man. Notwithstanding 
the claims and pretensions of phrenology, the old adage 
should not be neglected : " Judge not of things by their 
outward appearance."f All scientific writers on the 

* Bowen' s Central Africa, chapter xxiii. pp. 280, 281. 1 

f "It was once said that 'No good thing can come out of Nazareth;' and it is 
now thought that the mere color of the African places him under the general ban 
of nations, and renders preposterous and absurd the idea that this race could ever 
have occupied a position of dignity, or contributed to the general advancement of 
the world. If external aspect (and the assumption admits of triumphant vindica- 
tion) is considered a mere accident of being, how can it render nugatory all contra- 
vening evidence ? If so, then reason is a cheat, and Bacon and Newton were 
sophists ! Why the African is black, I know not, nor do I pause to inquire, any 
more than why you are white. One is as great a mystery to me as the other. It 
may be the effect of climate and condition ; or, what is much more likely, it may 
be a merciful arrangement of heaven and nature, to prepare them for residence and 
suffering in the hot intertropical regions assigned them as the bounds of their hab- 
itation. I do not profess to be an adept in the science of climatology, nor can I 
fathym the deep designs of Providence. I leave both to be comprehended and 
explained by others. But certainly, if the mere extrinsic circumstance, the adven- 
titious adjunct of color is to expel the African from the pale of humanity, of which 

Liberia's offering. 57 

subject refer the physical character of Africans to the 
climate in which they reside, and their peculiar mode 
and custom of life. In proportion as a people is ele- 
vated, or its mode of life cultivated, the features im- 
prove, and the whole outward appearance changes ; for 
it is a fact that the degree of the civilization and cul- 
ture of a people is a fair standard by which to judge 
of the physical character of that people. A proper 
education improves the body as well as the mind. 
Who will undertake to say that the features of the 
Britons, in the days of Julius Caesar, were as regular as 
those of the present inhabitants of England? Give 
Africans the same amount of culture, from generation 
to generation, which Europeans have enjoyed, and their 
features will assume the same proportion and symme- 

In visiting the native towns interior to Liberia, we 
have seen, though on a small scale, striking illustrations 
of this fact. Among the inhabitants of those towns, 
we could invariably distinguish the free man from the 
slave. There was about the former a dignity of ap- 
pearance, an openness of countenance, an independence 
of air, a firmness of step, which indicated the absence 
of oppression; while in the latter there was a depres- 
sion of countenance, a general deformity of appearance, 
and an awkwardness of gait which seemed to say : 
" That man is a slave." And it is, for the most 
part, among the latter class of persons that the slave- 
trade has found its victims, it being rarely the case that 
free persons are sold to slave-traders. This will partly 
account for the general deformity of appearance of the 

we deem ourselves such fair specimens, the decision reflects but too injuriously upon 
the magnanimity of earth and the justice of heaven !" — Posthumous Works of Rev. 
Henry B. Bascom, D.D., LL.D., one of the Bishops of the M. E. Church, South. 

58 Liberia's offering. 

Africans in the Western hemisphere ; going from one 
form of slavery into another immeasurably more severe, 
it was impossible that either themselves or their de- 
scendants should improve physically. Dr. Prichard, in 
his researches into the Physical History of Man, relates 
on the authority of Dr. S. S. Smith, of the negroes set- 
tled in the Southern districts of the United States of 
America, that the field-slaves, who live on the planta- 
tions, and retain pretty nearly the rude manners of 
their African progenitors, preserve, in the third genera- 
tion, much of their original structure, though their fea- 
tures are not so strongly marked as those of imported 
slaves. But the domestic servants of the same race, 
who are treated with lenity, and whose condition is 
little different from that of the lower class of white 
people, in the third generation have the nose raised, 
the mouth and lips of moderate size, the eyes lively 
and sparkling, and often the whole composition of the 
features extremely agreeable.* 


Another ground of argument with some in favor of 
the application of Noah's malediction to Africans, and 
their consequent inferiority to the other races, is the 
preference for slavery which some emancipated slaves 
have shown, either refusing to be set at liberty or 
returning into bondage after having been liberated. 
But they forget that this is by no means unusual, nor 
peculiar to the African race. The effect of slavery is 
to render the mind congenial to itself. Slavery begets 
in the slave adaptation and attachment to slavery. It 
is a principle of the human mind to love that to which 

* Watson's Theological Dictionary. 

libeeia's offering. 59 

long familiarity has accustomed it, particularly if it Las 
been led by any means to believe that the object to 
which it is accustomed is productive of benefit. How 
many of the emancipated Israelites would not have 
returned into Egyptian bondage had they possessed 
the power and opportunity of so doing? Notwith- 
standing the manifold and wonderful exhibitions of 
divine power which attended their exodus from that 
house of bondage, they were, on the least appearance 
of trouble, anxious to return. When they wanted 
bread, listen to their language : " And the children of 
Israel said, *■ Would to God we had died by the hand 
of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by 
the flesh-pots, and when we did eat bread to the full.' " 
(Exodus 16 : 3.) When they wanted water, they mur- 
mured against Moses their leader, saying : " Wherefore 
is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt to 
kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst V 
(Exodus 17 : 3.) And, as has been already intimated, 
even after they had settled in Canaan, and the Lord 
had extirpated some, and subdued the rest of their 
enemies, yet they looked to Egypt as their home ; and 
they regarded the Egyptians as superior to themselves 
even down to the time of Jeremiah. Solomon in all 
his glory, could not content himself without the daugh- 
ter of the king of Egypt, for whom he built a splendid 
palace. (1 Kings 3:1; 7:8.) When, in the days of 
the prophet Jeremiah, the king of Babylon invaded the 
land of Judah, a great many of the Jews, contrary to 
the remonstrances of the prophet, retired into Egypt, 
as if to their common home, saying in answer to the 
advice of the prophet : " No ; but we will go into the 
land of Egypt, where we shall see no war, nor hear the 

60 Liberia's offering. 

sound of the trumpet, nor have hunger of bread, and 
there will we dwell." 

Again, when permission was given to the Jews in 
Babylon to return to Judea from their captivity, and 
rebuild the temple of the Lord, did they all return ? 
By no means. They had become so wedded to Baby- 
lonish habits and modes of life that, though there was 
so great an inducement to their returning home as the 
rebuilding of the temple — the "glory of Israel" — yet 
they would not return. They preferred remaining in 
the land of their captivity to building up a home for 
themselves and reestablishing their nationality. 

In view of these facts, then, in the case of a people 
chosen of God, and blessed above all other peoples in 
point of religious privileges, shall it be thought won- 
derful if the same things occur in the case of Africans, 
a people scattered and peeled, meted out and trodden 
down ? The words of Cowper are universally and 
incontrovertibly true : 

"All constraint, 

Except what wisdom lays on evil men, 

Is evil ; hurts the faculties ; impedes 

Their progress in the road of science ; blinds 

The eyesight of discovery ; and begets 

In those who suffer it, a sordid mind, 

Bestial, a meager intellect, unfit 

To be the tenant of man's noble form." 

Cases are not wanting of colored persons fleeing from 
American bondage to Liberia, who, meeting a few 
difficulties, and unused to the task of self-reliance, wish 
to return and live their former life of ease and freedom 
from care. Some do return, and bear back evil reports 
of this good land. These cases are painful, but they 
are* not surprising ; they are illustrations of the invari- 
able effects of slavery. Nor is it to be wondered at 

Liberia's offering. 61 

that even in Liberia, an African government, free, sove- 
reign, and independent, there should be, as Bishop 
Scott alleges, "a degree of deference shown to white 
men that is not shown to colored." This will be the 
case in every African community for a long time, even 
after the entire abolition of slavery in the Western 
world. This reverence of the oppressed for the op- 
pressor, as we have just seen in the case of the Israel- 
ites, is not easily shaken off. Such is the influence of 
the latter upon the former, that their voice on any 
question has the effect to hush into the profoundest 
silence the least murmur of dissent on the part of the 

It is, however, incumbent upon the intelligent among 
the African race, to discountenance as much as possible 
this servile feeling, and to use every means to crush it 
wherever it appears, for its influence on the mind and 
morals and general progress of the race is fearfully 


If an ignorant man be calumniated, and that calum- 
ny be founded upon facts of Theology, Science, or Phi- 
losophy, branches of learning with which he is, of 
course, utterly unacquainted, it will not be surprising 
if that man, even with the facts of his own conscious- 
ness before him, contradictory of such calumny, should 
believe it, and shape his course of conduct in accord- 
ance with its dicta. So has it been, generally speaking, 
with the African race. We have been under those 
whose interest it was to give credit, importance, and 
circulation to the current aspersions against our race : 
and who, having all the influence over us which educa- 


tion, wealth, and power can confer, have succeeded too 
well in working in the minds of many the belief that 
we are a people accursed, and that, in consequence, we 
are in every respect inferior to them, and never can, by 
any combination of fortuitous circumstances, rise to 
perfect equality with them. Hence we see many ignor- 
ant and unfortunate persons of color under the poison- 
ing influence of this inculcated belief, who make no 
effort towards improvement, believing that their state 
has been fixed by an irreversible decree — a state of 
unconditional inferiority to the Caucasian. There is 
among such persons a constant distrust of each other ; 
a disposition to repose with greater confidence in per- 
sons of another race ; a want of faith in any thing 
remarkable done or projected by their own people. 
Galileans themselves, they doubt their own capacity 
for the production of " any good thing," and for no 
other reason than that it is currently reported that 
" no good thing can come out of Galilee." 

It is earnestly to be hoped that in the republic of 
Liberia no such feeling will exist. Nothing can be 
more detrimental to our progress. It will act like an 
incubus upon our energies. Let us, when our brethren 
come among us from the land of bondage, poisoned 
with the opinion of the inferiority of the African race, 
endeavor as soon as possible to eradicate the notion. 
And let us teach our children from their infancy — 
for they need to be taught — that no curse except that 
which every day follows the impenitent, hangs upon 
us ; that it is the force of circumstances, induced, as we 
have endeavored to show, by our iniquities, that keeps 
us down ; and that we have as much right as any other 
people to strive to rise to the very zenith of national 
glory. " Already has the auspicious day of the national 


glory of our race begun to dawn ; it has been divinely 
and mysteriously brought about; it is the work of 
Almighty God, and marvelous in our eyes ; and this 
has emboldened me to say that if this government 
unswervingly pursue a course of sound policy founded 
on religion and virtue, we shall not, we can not, we 
wdll not fail of success ; for we shall then clearly com- 
prehend the force of the expression, ' How shall those 
be cursed whom God hath not cursed? or, in other 
words, the impossibility will appear of keeping any 
nation or people buried in everlasting degradation and 
contempt for whose exaltation the arm of Omnipotence 
is manifestly stretched forth."* 

The position of the people of Liberia invests them 
with peculiar ability for doing good in behalf of the 
down-trodden race to which they belong. If they 
properly use that ability, they may exert no inconsider- 
able influence in bringing about the universal disen- 
thrallment and elevation of Africans. They should 
not, in order to benefit their enslaved brethren, " render 
evil for evil" to their oppressors. Such a course is 
productive of no good ; it is a plan of procedure that 
finds no sympathy in these enlightened days ; it is a 
progeny of the dark ages. These are times when, by 
argumentation and demonstration, the moral sensibilities 
of men must be appealed to. Physical inconveniences, 
employed for the purpose of correcting moral evils, 
have no true reformatory effect. Men must be led, not 
driven. No desirable effect can be produced by reiter- 
ating doleful complaints and harsh vituperations against 
men on account of their prejudices. But a great deal 
is accomplished by furnishing practical demonstrations 
that such prejudices are destitute of foundation. And 

* Message of President Benson, December 4th, 1854. 

64 Liberia's offering. 

this is the work of the people of Liberia in particular, 
and of colored men in general. We nxust prove to our 
oppressors that we are men, possessed of like suscepti- 
bilities with themselves ; by seeking after those attri- 
butes which give dignity to a state ; by cultivating 
those virtues which shed lustre upon individuals and 
communities ; by pursuing whatever is magnificent in 
enterprise, whatever is lovely and of good report in 
civilization, whatever is exalted in morals, and what- 
ever is exemplary in piety. Then shall we prove that 
we do possess " rights which white people are bound to 
respect," the decision of an enlightened Chief-Justice 
to the contrary notwithstanding. But so long as we 
contentedly remain at the foot of the ladder at whose 
top our oppressors stand, it is unreasonable, it is absurd 
to call upon them to recognize us as equals in every 
respect ; and it is worse than absurdity to abuse and 
vilify them for their opinions and prejudices with 
respect to us. We must make our way to the position 
which they occupy. And having overstepped the in- 
terval which has so long separated us from them, and 
standing with them on the same summit, we shall be 
welcomed as equals. Then will Shem, Ham, and Ja- 
pheth dwell together as brethren, in " liberty, equality, 
and fraternity." There will be no more slavery, for 
Canaan, the " servant of servants," has been extermi- 







§mmftmt# at ^ixm in ^mtttat. 

11 Behold, the Lord thy God hath set the land before thee : go up and possess 
it, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath said unto thee ; fear not, neither be discour- 
aged." — Deuteronomy 1 : 21. 

Among the descendants of Africa in this country the 
persuasion seems to prevail, though not now to .the 
same extent as formerly, that they owe no special duty 
to the land of their forefathers; that their ancestors 
having been brought to this country against their will, 
and themselves having been born in the land, they are 
in duty bound to remain here and give their attention 
exclusively to the acquiring for themselves, and perpet- 
uating to their posterity, social and political rights, not- 
withstanding the urgency of the call which their father- 
land, by its forlorn and degraded moral condition, 
makes upon them for their assistance. 

All other people feel a pride in their ancestral land, 
and do every thing in their power to create for it, if it 
has not already, an honorable name. But many of the 
descendants of Africa, on the contrary, speak disparag- 
ingly of their country ; are ashamed to acknowledge 
any connection with that land, and would turn indig- 
nantly upon any who would bid them go up and take 
possession of the land of their fathers. 

68 Liberia's offering. 

It is a sad feature in the residence of Africans in this 
country, that it has begotten in them a forgetfulness of 
Africa — a want of sympathy with her in her moral and 
intellectual desolation, and a clinging to the land which 
for centuries has been the scene of their thralldom. A 
shrewd European observer* of American society, says 
of the negro in this country, that he " makes a thou- 
sand fruitless efforts to insinuate himself among men 
who repulse him ; he conforms to the taste of his op- 
pressors, adopts their opinions, and hopes by imitating 
them to form a part of their community. Having been 
told from infancy that his race is naturally inferior to 
that of the whites, he assents to the proposition, and is 
ashamed of his own nature. In each of his features he 
discovers a trace of slavery, and, if it were in his power, 
he would willingly rid himself of every thing that 
makes him what he is." 

It can not be denied that some very important ad- 
vantages have accrued to the black man from his de- 
portation to this land, but it has been at the expense of 
his manhood. Our nature in this country is not the 
same as it appears among the lordly natives of the in- 
terior of Africa, who have never felt the trammels of a 
foreign yoke. We have been dragged into depths of 
degradation. We have been taught a cringing servil- 
ity. We have been drilled into contentment with ihe 
most undignified circumstances. Our finer sensibilities 
have been blunted. There has been an almost utter 
extinction of all that delicacy of feeling and sentiment 
which adorns character. The temperament of our souls 
has become harder or coarser, so that we can walk forth 
here, in this land of indignities, in ease and in compla- 
cency, while our complexion furnishes ground for every 

* De Tocqueville, Democracy in America. 

Liberia's offering. 69 

species of social insult which an intolerant prejudice 
may choose to inflict. 

But a change is coming over us. The tendency of 
events is directing the attention of the colored people 
to some other scene, and Africa is beginning to receive 
the attention, which has so long been turned away from 
her ; and as she throws open her portals and shows the 
inexhaustible means of comfort and independence with- 
in, the black man begins to feel dissatisfied with the 
annoyances by which he is here surrounded, and looks 
with longing eyes to his fatherland. I venture to pre- 
dict that, within a very brief period, that down-trodden 
land instead of being regarded with prejudice and dis- 
taste, will largely attract the attention and engage the 
warmest interest of every man of color. A few have 
always sympathized with Africa, but it has been an in- 
dolent and unmeaning sympathy- — a sympathy which 
put forth no effort, made no sacrifices, endured no self- 
denial, braved no obloquy for the sake of advancing 
African interests. But the scale is turning, and Africa 
is becoming the all-absorbing topic. 

It is my desire, on the present occasion, to endeavor 
to set before you the work which, it is becoming more 
and more apparent, devolves upon the black men of the 
United States; and to guide my thoughts, I have 
chosen the words of the text : " Behold, the Lord thy 
God hath set the land before thee : go up and possess 
it, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath said unto thee ; 
fear not, neither be discouraged." 

You will at once perceive that I do not believe that 
the work to be done by black men is in this country. 
I believe that their field of operation is in some other 
and distant scene. Their work is far nobler and loftier 
than that which they are now doing in this country. 

70 libeeia's offering. 

It is theirs to betake themselves to injured Africa, and 
bless those outraged shores, and quiet those distracted 
families with the blessings of Christianity and civiliza- 
tion. It is theirs to bear with them to that land the 
arts of industry and peace, and counteract the influence 
of those horrid abominations which an inhuman avarice 
has introduced — to roll back the appalling cloud of ig- 
norance and superstition which overspreads the land, 
and to rear on those shores an asylum of liberty for the 
down-trodden sons of Africa wherever found. This is 
the work to which Providence is obviously calling the 
black men of this country. 

I am aware that some, against all experience, are 
hoping for the day when they will enjoy equal social 
and political rights in this land. We do not blame 
them for so believing and trusting. But we would re- 
mind them that there is a faith against reason, against 
experience, which consists in believing or pretending to 
believe very important propositions upon very slender 
proofs, and in maintaining opinions without any proper 
grounds. It ought to be clear to every thinking and 
impartial mind, that there can never occur in this coun- 
try an equality, social or political, between whites and 
blacks. .The whites have for a long time had the ad- 
vantage. All the affairs of the country are in their 
hands. They make and administer the laws ; they 
teach the schools ; here, in the North, they ply all the 
trades, they own all the stores, they have possession of 
all the banks, they own all the ships and navigate 
them; they are the printers, proprietors, and editors of 
the leading newspapers, and they shape public opinion. 
Having always had the lead, they have acquired an as- 
cendency they will ever maintain. The blacks have 
very few or no agencies in operation to counteract the 
ascendant influence of the Europeans. And instead of 


employing what little they have by a unity of effort to 
alleviate their condition, they turn all their power 
against themselves by their endless ' jealousies, and 
rivalries, and competition; every one who is able to 
" pass " being emulous of a place among Europeans or 
Indians. This is the effect of their circumstances. It 
is the influence of the dominant class upon them. It 
argues no essential inferiority in them — no more than 
the disadvantages of the Israelites in Egypt argued 
their essential inferiority to the Egyptians. They are 
the weaker class overshadowed and depressed by the 
stronger. They are the feeble oak dwarfed by the 
overspreadings of a large tree, having not the advan- 
tage of rain, and sunshine, and fertilizing dews. 

Before the weaker people God has set the land of 
their forefathers, and bids them go up and possess it 
without fear or discouragement. Before the tender 
plant he sets an open field, where, in the unobstructed 
ait* and sunshine, it may grow and flourish in all its na- 
tive luxuriance. 

There are two ways in which God speaks to men : 
one is by his word and the other by his providence. 
He has not sent any Moses, with signs and wonders, to 
cause an exodus of the descendants of Africa to their 
fatherland, yet he has loudly spoken to them as to their 
duty in the matter. He has spoken by his providence. 
First ; By suffering them to be brought here and placed 
in circumstances where they could receive a training 
fitting them for the work of civilizing and evangelizing 
the land whence they were torn, and by preserving 
them under the severest trials and afflictions. Secondly ; 
By allowing them, notwithstanding all the services they 
have rendered to this country, to be treated as strangers 
and aliens, so as to cause them to have anguish of spir- 
it, as was the case with the Jews in Egypt, and to 

72 Liberia's offering. 

make thein long for some refuge frorn their social and 
civil deprivations. Thirdly; By bearing a portion of 
them across the tempestuous seas back to Africa, by 
preserving them through the process of acclimation, and 
by establishing them in the land, despite the attempts 
of misguided men to drive them away. Fourthly ; By 
keeping their fatherland in reserve for them in their 

The manner in which Africa has been kept from in- 
vasion is truly astounding. Known for ages, it is yet 
unknown. For centuries its inhabitants have been the 
victims of the cupidity of foreigners. The country has 
been rifled of its population. It has been left in some 
portions almost wholly unoccupied, but it has remained 
unmolested by foreigners. It has been very near the 
crowded countries of the world, yet none has relieved 
itself to any great extent of its overflowing population 
by seizing upon its domains. Europe, from the North,- 
looks wishfully and with longing eyes across the narrow 
straits of Gibraltar. Asia, with its teeming millions, is 
connected with us by an isthmus wide enough to admit 
of her throwing thousands into that country. But, 
notwithstanding the known wealth of the resources of 
the land, of which the report has gone into all the 
earth, there is still a terrible vail between us and our 
neighbors, the all-conquering Europeans, which they are 
only now essaying to lift ; while the teeming millions 
of Asia have not even attempted to leave their boun- 
daries to penetrate our borders. Neither alluring vis- 
ions of glorious conquests, nor brilliant hopes of rapid 
enrichment, could induce them to invade the country. 
It has been preserved alike from the boastful civiliza- 
tion of Europe, and the effete and barbarous institutions 
of Asia. We call it, then, a Providential interposition, 
that while the owners of the soil have been abroad, 

Liberia's offering. 73 

passing through the fearful ordeal of a most grinding 
oppression, the land, though entirely unprotected, has 
lain uninvaded. We regard it as a providential call to 
Africans every where, to " go up and possess the land f 
so that in a sense that is not merely constructive and 
figurative, but truly literal, God says to the black men 
of this country, with reference to Africa : " Behold, I 
set the land before you, go up and possess it." 

Of course it can not be expected that this subject of 
the duty of colored men to go up and take possession 
of their fatherland, will be at once clear to every mind. 
Men look at objects from different points of view, and 
form their opinions according to the points from which 
they look, and are guided in their actions according to 
the opinions they form. As I have already said, the 
majority of exiled Africans do not seem to appreciate 
the great privilege of going and taking possession of 
the land. They seem to have lost all interest in that 
land, and to prefer living in subordinate and inferior 
positions in a strange land among oppressors, to encoun- 
tering the risks involved in emigrating to a distant coun- 
try. As I walk the streets of these cities, visit the hotels 
go on board the steamboats, I am grieved to notice how 
much intelligence, how much strength and energy is 
frittered away in those trifling employments, which, if 
thrown into Africa, might elevate the millions of that 
land from their degradation, tribes at a time, and create 
an African power which would command the respect of 
the world, and place in the possession of Africans, its 
rightful owners, the wealth which is now diverted to 
other quarters. Most of the wealth that could be 
drawn from that land, during the last six centuries, has 
passed into the hands of Europeans, while many of 
Africa's own sons, sufficiently intelligent to control those 

74 Liberia's offering. 

immense resources, are sitting down in poverty and de- 
pendence in the land of strangers — exiles when they 
have so rich a domain from which they have never been 
expatriated, but which is willing, nay, anxious to wel- 
come them home again. 

We need some African power, some great center of 
the race where our physical, pecuniary, and intellectual 
strength may be collected. "We need some spot whence 
such an influence may go forth in behalf of the race as 
shall be felt by the nations. We are now so scattered 
and divided that we can do nothing. The imposition 
begun last year by a foreign power upon Hayti, and 
which is still persisted in, fills every black man who 
has heard of it with indignation, but we are not strong 
enough to speak out effectually for that land. When 
the same power attempted an outrage upon the Libe. 
rians, there was no African power strong enough to 
interpose. So long as we remain thus divided, we may 
expect impositions. So long as we live simply by the 
sufferance of the nations, we must expect to be subject 
to their caprices. 

Among the free portion of the descendants of Africa, 
numbering about four or five millions, there is enough 
talent, wealth, and enterprise, to form a respectable 
nationality on the continent of Africa. For nigh three 
hundred years their skill and industry have been ex- 
pended in building up the southern countries of the 
New World, the poor, frail constitution of the Cau- 
casian not allowing him to endure the fatigue and toil 
involved in such labors. Africans and their descend- 
ants have been the laborers, and the mechanics, and the 
artisans in the greater portion of this hemisphere. By 
tha results of their labor the European countries have 
been sustained and enriched. All the cotton, coffee, 
indigo, sugar, tobacco, etc., which have formed the most 

libeeia's offering. 75 

important articles of European commerce, have been 
raised and prepared for market by the labor of the 
black man. Dr. Palmer of New-Orleans, bears the 
same testimony.* And all this labor they have done, 
for the most part not only without compensation, but 
with abuse, and contempt, and insult, as their reward. 

Now, while Europeans are looking to our father- 
land with such eagerness of desire, and are hastening 
to explore and take away its riches, ought not Africans 
in the Western hemisphere to turn their regards thither 
also ? We need to collect the scattered forces of the 
race, and there is no rallying-ground more favorable 
than Africa. There 

" No pent-up Utica contracts our powers, 
The whole boundless continent is ours." 

Ours as a gift from the Almighty when he drove asun- 
der the nations and assigned them their boundaries ; 
and ours by peculiar physical adaptation. 

An African nationality is our great need, and God 
tells us by his providence that he has set the land 
before us, and bids us go up and possess it. We shall 
never receive the respect of other races until we estab- 
lish a powerful nationality. We should not content 
ourselves with living among other races, simply by their 
permission or their endurance, as Africans live in this 
country. We must build up negro states ; we must 
establish and maintain the various institutions; we 
must make and administer laws, erect and preserve 
churches, and support the worship of God ; we must 

* In the famous sermon of this distinguished divine on Slavery a Divine 
Trust, he says : " The enriching commerce which has built the splendid cities and 
marble palaces of England as well as of America, has been largely established upon 
the products of Southern soil ; and the blooms upon Southern fields, gathered by 
black hands, have fed the spindles and looms of Manchester and Birmingham not 
less than of Lawrence and Lowell." 

76 libeeia's offering. 

have governments ; we must have legislation of our 
own ; we must build ships and navigate them ; we 
must ply the trades, instruct the schools, control the 
press, and thus aid in shaping the opinions and guiding 
the destinies of mankind. Nationality is an ordinance 
of Nature. The heart of every true negro yearns after 
a distinct and separate nationality. 

Impoverished, feeble, and alone, Liberia is striving to 
establish and build up such a nationality in the home 
of the race. Can any descendant of Africa turn con- 
temptuously upon a scene where such efforts are making ? 
Would not every right-*thinking negro rather lift up 
his voice and direct the attention of his brethren to that 
land ? Liberia, with outstretched arms, earnestly invites 
all to come. We call them forth out of all nations ; 
we bid them take up their all and leave the countries 
of their exile, as of old the Israelites went forth from 
Egypt, taking with them their trades and their treas- 
ures, their intelligence, their mastery of arts, their 
knowledge of the sciences, their practical wisdom, and 
every thing that will render them useful in building up 
a nationality. We summon them from these States, 
from the Canadas, from the East and West-Indies, from 
South-America, from every where, to come and take 
part with us in our great work. 

But those whom we call are under the influence of 
various opinions, having different and conflicting views 
of their relations and duty to Africa, according to the 
different stand-points they occupy. So it was with 
another people who, like ourselves, were suffering from 
the effects of protracted thralldom, when on the bor- 
ders of the land to which God was leading them. 
When Moses sent out spies to search the land of Ca- 
naan, every man, on his return, seemed to be influenced 
in his report by his peculiar temperament, previous 


Liberia's offering. 77 

habits of thought, by the degree of his physical cour- 
age, or by something peculiar in his point of observa- 
tion. All agreed, indeed, that it was an exceedingly 
rich land, " flowing with milk and honey," for they car- 
ried with them on their return, a proof of its amazing 
fertility. But a part, and a larger part, too, saw only 
giants and walled towns, and barbarians and cannibals. 
" Surely," said they, " it floweth with milk and honey. 
Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the 
land, and the cities are walled, and very great ; and 
moreover we saw the children of Anak there. The 
land through which we have gone to search it, is a land 
that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the peo- 
ple that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And 
there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come 
of the giants : and we were in our own sight as grass- 
hoppers, and so we were in their sight." It was only a 
small minority of that company that saw things in a 
more favorable light. " Caleb stilled the people before 
Moses, and said, Let us go up at once and possess it • 
for we be well able to overcome it." (Numbers 13.) 

In like manner there is division among the colored 
people of this country with regard to Africa, that land 
which the providence of God is bidding them go up 
and possess. Spies sent from different sections of this 
country by the colored people — and many a spy not 
commissioned — have gone to that land, and have re- 
turned and reported. Like the Hebrew spies, they 
have put forth diverse views. Most believe Africa to 
be a fertile and rich country, and an African nationality 
a desirable thing. But some affirm that the land is not 
fit to dwell in, for "it is a land that eateth up the 
inhabitants thereof," notwithstanding the millions of 
strong and vigorous aborigines who throng all parts 


of the country, and the thousands of colonists who are 
settled along the coast; some see in the inhabitants 
incorrigible barbarism, degradation, and superstition, 
and insuperable hostility to civilization ; others suggest 
that the dangers and risks to be encountered, and the 
self-denial to be endured, are too great for the slender 
advantages which, as it appears to them, will accrue 
from immigration. A few only report that the land is 
open to us on every hand — that " every prospect 
pleases," and that the natives are so tractable that it 
would be a comparatively easy matter for civilized and 
Christianized black men to secure all the land to 
Christian law, liberty, and civilization. 

I come to-day to defend the report of the minority. 
The thousands of our own race, emigrants from this 
country, settled for more than forty years in that land, 
agree with the minority report. Dr. Barth, and other 
travelers to the east and south-east of Liberia, indorse 
the sentiment of the minority, and testify to the beau- 
ty, and healthfulness, and productiveness of the country, 
and to the mildness and hospitality of its inhabitants. 
In Liberia we hear from natives, who are constantly 
coming to our settlements from the far interior, of land 
exuberantly fertile, of large, numerous, and wealthy 
tribes, athletic and industrious ; not the descendants of 
Europeans — according to Bowen's insane theory — but 
black men, pure negroes, who live in large towns, culti- 
vate the soil, and carry on extensive traffic, maintaining 
amicable relations with each other and with men from 
a distance. 

The ideas that formerly prevailed of the interior of 
Africa, which suited the purposes of poetry and sensa- 
tion writing, have been proved entirely erroneous. 
Poets may no longer sing with impunity of Africa : 


" A region of drought, where no river glides, 
Nor rippling brook with osiered sides ; 
Where sedgy pool, nor bubbling fount, 
Nor tree, nor cloud, nor misty mount, 
Appears to refresh the aching eye, 
But barren earth and the burning sky, 
And the blank horizon round and round." 

No ; missionary and scientific enterprises have disproved 
such fallacies. The land possesses every possible in- 
ducement. That extensive and beauteous domain 
which God has given us appeals to us and to black 
men every where, by its many blissful and benignant 
aspects ; by its flowery landscapes, its beautiful rivers, 
its serene and peaceful skies ; by all that attractive and 
perennial verdure which overspreads the hills and val- 
leys ; by its every prospect lighted up by delightful 
sunshine ; by all its natural charms, it calls upon us to 
rescue it from the grasp of remorseless superstition, 
and introduce the blessings of the Gospel. 

But there are some among the intelligent colored 
people of this country who, while they profess to have 
great love for Africa, and tell us that their souls are 
kindled when they hear of their fatherland, yet object 
to going themselves, because, as they affirm, the black 
man has a work to accomplish in this land — he has a 
destiny to fulfill. He, the representative of Africa, like 
the representatives from various parts of Europe, must 
act his part in building up this great composite nation. 
It is not difficult to see what the work of the black 
man is in this land. The most inexperienced observer 
may at once read his destiny. Look at the various 
departments of society here in the free North ; look at 
the different branches of industry, and see how the 
black man is aiding to build up this nation. Look 
at the hotels, the saloons, the steamboats, the barber- 

80 Liberia's offering. 

shops, and see how successfully \e is carrying out his 
destiny ! And there is an extreme likelihood that such 
are forever to be the exploits which he is destined to 
achieve in this country until he merges his African 
peculiarities in the Caucasian. 

Others object to the climate of Africa, first, that it is 
unhealthy, and secondly, that it is not favorable to in- 
tellectual progress. To the first, we reply that it is 
not more insalubrious than other new countries. Per- 
sons going to Africa, who have not been broken down 
as to their constitutions in this country, stand as fair a 
chance of successful acclimation as in any other country 
of large, unbroken forests and extensively uncleared 
lands. In all new countries there are sufferings and 
privations. All those countries which have grown up 
during the last two centuries, in this hemisphere, have 
had as a foundation the groans, and tears, and blood of 
the pioneers. But what are the sufferings of pioneers, 
compared with the greatness of the results they accom- 
plish for succeeding generations? Scarcely any great 
step in human progress is made without multitudes of 
victims. Every revolution that has been effected, every 
nationality that has been established, every country that 
has been rescued from the abominations of savagism, 
every colony that has been planted, has involved per- 
plexities and sufferings to the generation who under- 
took it. In the evangelization of Africa, in the erection 
of African nationalities, we can expect no exceptions. 
The man, then, who is not able to suffer and to die for 
his fellows when necessity requires it, is not fit to be a 
pioneer in this great work. 

We believe, as we have said, that the establishment 
of an African nationality in Africa is the great need of 
the African race ; and the men who have gone, or may 

libeeia's offeking. 81 

hereafter go to assist in laying the foundations of em- 
pire, so far from being dupes, or cowards, or traitors, as 
some have ignorantly called them, are the truest heroes 
of the race. They are the soldiers rushing first into 
the breach — physicians who at the risk of their own 
lives are first to explore an infectious disease. How 
much more nobly do they act than those who have held 
for years that it is nobler to sit here and patiently suf- 
fer with our brethren ! Such sentimental inactivity 
finds no respect in these days of rapid movement. The 
world sees no merit in mere innocence. The man who 
contents himself to sit down and exemplify the virtue 
of patience and endurance will find no sympathy from 
the busy, restless crowd that rush by him. Even the 
" sick man " must get out of the way when he hears 
the tramp of the approaching host, or be crushed by 
the heedless and massive car of progress. Blind Bar- 
timeuses are silenced by the crowd. The world requires 
active service; it respects only productive workers. 
The days of hermits and monks have passed away. 
Action — work, work — is the order of the day. Heroes 
in the strife and struggle of humanity are the demand 
of the age. 

" They who would be free, themselves must strike the blow." 

With regard to the objection founded upon the un- 
favorableness of the climate to intellectual progress, I 
have only to say, that proper moral agencies, when set 
in operation, can not be overborne by physical causes. 
" We continually behold lower laws held in restraint 
by higher ; mechanic by dynamic ; chemical by vital ; 
physical by moral."* It has not yet been proved that 
with the proper influences, the tropics will not produce 

* Dean Trench, quoted by Baden Powell in Essays and Reviews, 1861. 



men of " cerebral activity." Those races which have 
degenerated by a removal from the North to the trop- 
ics did not possess the proper moral power. They had 
in themselves the seed of degeneracy, and would have 
degenerated any where. It was not Anglo-Saxon blood, 
nor a temperate climate, that kept the first emigrants 
to this land from falling into the same indolence and 
inefficiency which have overtaken the European settlers 
in South- America, but the Anglo-Saxon Bible — the 
principles contained in that book, are the great conserv- 
ative and elevating power. Man is the same, and the 
human mind is the same, whether existing beneath 
African suns or Arctic frosts. I can conceive of no dif- 
ference. It is the moral influences brought to bear 
upon the man that make the difference in his progress. 
" High degrees of moral sentiment," says a distin- 
guished American writer,* " control the unfavorable 
influences of climate ; and some of our grandest exam- 
ples of men and of races come from the equatorial re- 
gions." Man is elevated by taking hold of that which 
is higher than himself. Unless this is done, climate, 
color, race, will avail nothing. 

" unless above himself he can 

Erect himself, how poor a thing is man |™ 

For my own part, I believe that the brilliant world of 
the tropics, with its marvels of nature, must of neces- 
sity give to mankind a new career of letters, and new 
forms in the various arts, whenever the millions of men 
at present uncultivated shall enjoy the advantages of 

Africa will furnish a development of civilization 
which the world has never yet witnessed. Its great 

* R. W. Emerson, in the Atlantic Monthly, April, 1862. 

Liberia's offering. 83 

peculiarity will be its moral element. The Gospel is 
to achieve some of its most beautiful triumphs in that 
land. " God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell 
in the tents of Shem," was the blessing upon the Eu- 
ropean and Asiatic races. Wonderfully have these 
predictions been fulfilled. The all-conquering descend- 
ants of Japheth have gone to every clime, and have 
planted themselves on almost every shore. By means 
fair and unfair, they have spread themselves, have 
grown wealthy and powerful. They have been truly 
" enlarged." God has " dwelt in the tents of Shem,'' 
for so some understand the passage. The Messiah — 
God manifest in the flesh — was of the tribe of Judah. 
He was born and dwelt in the tents of Shem. The 
promise to Ethiopia, or Ham, is like that to Shem, of a 
spiritual kind. It refers not to physical strength, not 
to large and extensive domains, not to foreign con- 
quests, not to wide-spread domination, but to the pos- 
session of spiritual qualities, to the elevation of the soul 
heavenward, to spiritual aspirations and divine com- 
munications. " Ethiopia shall stretch forth her hands 
unto God." Blessed, glorious promise ! Our trust is 
not to be in chariots or horses, not in our own skill or 
power, but our help is to be in the name of the Lord. 
And surely, in reviewing our history as a people, 
whether we consider our preservation in the lands of 
our exile, or the preservation of our fatherland from in- 
vasion, we are compelled to exclaim : " Hitherto hath 
J^he Lord helped us !" Let us, then, fear not the influ- 
ences of climate. Let us go forth stretching out our 
hands to God, and if it be as hot as Nebuchadnezzar's 
furnace, there will be one in the midst like unto the 
Son of God, counteracting its deleterious influences. 
Behold, then, the Lord our God has set the land be- 

84 Liberia's offering. 

fore us, with its burning climate, with its privations, 
with its moral, intellectual, and political needs, and by 
his providence he bids us go up and possess it without 
fear or discouragement. Shall we go up at his bid- 
ding ? If the black men of this country, through un- 
belief or indolence, or for any other cause, fail to lay 
hold of the blessings which God is proffering to them, 
and neglect to accomplish the work which devolves 
upon them, the work will be done, but others will be 
brought in to do it, and to take possession of the 

For while the colored people here are tossed about by 
various and conflicting opinions as to their duty to that 
land, men are going thither from other quarters of the 
globe. They are entering the land from various quar- 
ters with various motives and designs, and may eventu- 
ally so preoccupy the land as to cut us off from the fair 
inheritance which lies before us, unless we go forth 
without further delay and establish ourselves. 

The enterprise and energy manifested by white men 
who, with uncongenial constitutions, go from a distance 
to endeavor to open up that land to the world, are far 
from creditable to the civilized and enlightened colored 
men of the United States, when contrasted with their 
indifference in the matter. A noble army of self-expa- 
triated evangelists have gone to that land from Europe 
and America ; and, while anxious to extend the bless- 
ings of true religion, they have in no slight degree pro- 
moted the cause of science and commerce. Many have 
fallen, either from the effects of the climate or by the* 
hands of violence ;* still the interest in the land is by 

* The names of John Ledyard, Frederick Horneman, Dr. Walter Oudney, Cap- 
tain Clapperton, Major Denman, John Richardson, and Dr. Overweg occur in the 
list of those who have fallen victims either to the climate or the hardships of their 
pilgrimage. But a more melancholy enumeration maybe made. Major Houghton 

libeeia's offering. 85 

no means diminished. The enamored worshiper of 
science, and the Christian philanthropist, are still la- 
boring to solve the problem of African geography, and 
to elevate its benighted tribes. They are not only dis- 
closing to the world the mysteries of regions hitherto 
unexplored, but tribes whose very existence had not 
before been known to the civilized world have been 
brought, through their instrumentality, into contact 
with civilization and Christianity. They have discov- 
ered in the distant portions of that land countries as 
productive as any in Europe and America. They have 
informed the world of bold and lofty mountains, ex- 
tensive lakes, noble rivers, falls rivaling Niagara, so 
that, as a result of their arduous, difficult, and philan- 
thropic labors of exploration, the cause of Christianity, 
ethnology, geography, and commerce has been, in a very 
important degree, subserved. 

Dr. Livingstone, the indefatigable African explorer, 
who, it is estimated, has passed over not less than eleven 
thousand miles of African ground, speaking of the mo- 
tives which led him to those shores, and still keep him 
there in spite of privations and severe afflictions, says : 

" I expect to find for myself no large fortune in that country ; nor do I 
expect to explore any large portions of a new country ; but I do hope to 
find a pathway, by means of the river Zambesi, which may lead to high- 
lands, where Europeans may form a settlement, and where, by opening up 
communication and establishing commercial intercourse with the natives of 
Africa, they may slowly, but not the less surely, impart to the people of 
that country the knowledge and inestimable blessings of Christianity." 

perished, or was murdered, in the basin of the Gambia. The truly admirable 
Mungo Park was killed in an attack of the natives, at a difficult passage of the 
Niger. The same fate befell Richard Lander in the lower course of the river. 
Major Laing was foully slain in his tent at a halting-place in the Sahara. John 
Davidson was assassinated soon after passing the fringe of the desert. Dr. Cowan 
and Captain Donovan disappeared in the wilds of South- Africa. Dr. Vogel was 
assassinated in the country about Lake Chad. — Leisure Hour. 

86 Liberia's offering. 

The recently formed Oxford, Cambridge, and Dublin 
Missionary Society state their object to be to spread 
Christianity among the untaught people of Central 
Africa, " so to operate among them as by mere teaching 
and influence to help to build up native Christian states." 
The idea of building up " native Christian states " is a 
very important one, and is exactly such an idea as 
would be carried out if there were a large influx of 
civilized blacks from abroad. 

I am sorry to find that among some in this country, 
the opinion prevails that in Liberia a distinction is 
maintained between the colonists and the aborigines, so 
that the latter are shut out from the social and political 
privileges of the former. No candid person who has 
read the laws of Liberia, or who has visited that coun- 
try, can aflirm or believe such a thing. The idea no 
doubt arises from the fact that the aborigines of a coun- 
try generally suffer from the settling of colonists among 
them. But the work of Liberia is somewhat different 
from that of other colonies which have been planted on 
foreign shores. The work achieved by other emigrants 
has usually been — the enhancement of their own imme- 
diate interests ; the increase of their physical comforts 
and conveniences ; the enlargement of their borders by 
the most speedy and available methods, without regard 
to the effect such a course might have upon the aborig- 
ines. Their interests sometimes coming into direct con- 
tact with those of the owners of the soil, they have not 
unfrequently, by their superior skill and power, reduced 
the poor native to servitude or complete annihilation. 
The Israelites could live in peace in the land of Ca- 
naan only by exterminating the indigenous inhabitants. 
The. colony that went out from Phenicia, and that laid 
the foundations of empire on the northern shores of Af- 


rica, at first paid a yearly tax to the natives ; with the 
increasing wealth and power of Carthage, however, the 
respective conditions of the Carthaginians and the na- 
tives were changed, and the Phenician adventurers as- 
sumed and maintained a dominion over the Libyans. 
The colonies from Europe which landed at Plymouth 
Kock, at Boston, and at Jamestown — which took posses- 
sion of the West-India islands and of Mexico, treated 
the aborigines in the same manner. The natives of 
India, Australia, and New-Zealand are experiencing a 
similar treatment under the overpowering and domineer- 
ing rule of the Anglo-Saxons. Eagerness for gain and 
the passion for territorial aggrandisement have appeared 
to the colonists necessary to their growth and progress. 

The work of Liberia, as I have said, is different and 
far nobler. We, on the borders of our fatherland, can 
not, as the framers of our Constitution wisely intimated, 
allow ourselves to be influenced by " avaricious specu- 
lations,^ or by desires for " territorial aggrandisement." 
Our work there is moral and intellectual as well as 
physical. We have to work upon the people, as well 
as upon the land — upon mind as well as upon matter. 
Our prosperity depends as much upon the wholesome 
and elevating influence we exert upon the native popu- 
lation, as upon the progress we make in agriculture, 
commerce, and manufacture. Indeed the conviction 
prevails in Liberia among the thinking people that we 
can make no important progress in these things without 
the cooperation of the aborigines. We believe that no 
policy can be more suicidal in Liberia than that which 
would keep aloof from the natives around us. We 
believe that our life and strength will be to elevate and 
incorporate them among us as speedily as possible. 

And, then, the aborigines are not a race alien from 

88 Liberia's offering. 

the colonists. We are a part of them. When alien 
and hostile races have come together, as we have just 
seen, one has had to succumb to the other ; but when 
different peoples of the same family have been brought 
together, there has invariably been a fusion, and the 
result has been an improved and powerful class. When 
three branches of the great Teutonic family met on the 
soil of England, they united. It is true that at first 
there was a distinction of caste among them in conse- 
quence of the superiority in every respect of the great 
Norman people; but, as the others came up to their 
level, the distinctions were quietly effaced, and Norman, 
Saxon, and Dane easily amalgamated. Thus, " a people 
inferior to none existing in the world was formed by 
the mixture of three branches of the great Teutonic 
family with each other and the aboriginal Britons."* 

In America we see how readily persons from all parts 
of Europe assimilate; but what great difficulty the 
Negro, the Chinese, and the Indian experience! We 
find here representatives from all the nations of Europe 
easily blending with each other. But we find elements 
that will not assimilate. The Negro, the Indian, and 
the Chinese, who do not belong to the same family, 
repel each other, and are repelled by the Europeans. 
u The antagonistic elements are in contact, but refuse to 
unite, and as yet no agent has been found sufficiently 
potent to reduce them to unity." 

But the case with Americo-Liberians and the abori- 
gines is quite different. We are all descendants of 
Africa. In Liberia there may be found persons of 
almost every tribe in West-Africa, from Senegal to 
Congo. And not only do we and the natives belong 
to the same race, but we are also of the same family. 

* Macaulay's History of England, vol. i. chap. 1. 

Liberia's offering. 89 

The two peoples can no more be kept from assimilating 
and blending than water can be kept from mingling 
with its kindred elements. The policy of Liberia is to 
diffuse among them as rapidly as possible the principles 
of Christianity and civilization, to prepare them to take 
an active part in the duties of the nationality which we 
are endeavoring to erect. "Whence, then, comes the 
slander which represents Liberians as " maintaining a 
distance from the aborigines — a constant and uniform 
separation" ? 

To take part in the noble work in which they are 
engaged on that coast, the government and people of 
Liberia earnestly invite the descendants of Africa in 
this country.* In all our feebleness, we have already 
accomplished something ; but very little in comparison 
of what has to be done. A beginning has been made, 
however — a great deal of preparatory work accom- 
plished. And if the intelligent and enterprising co- 
lored people of this country would emigrate in large 
numbers, an important work would be done in a short 
time. And we know exactly the kind of work that 
would be done. We know that where now stand un- 
broken forests would spring up towns and villages, 
with their schools and churches- — that the natives 
would be taught the arts of civilization — that their 
energies would be properly directed — that their preju- 
dices would disappear — that there would be a rapid 
and important revulsion from the practices of heathen- 
ism, and a radical change in their social condition — 

* The Legislature of Liberia, at its last session, 1861-62, passed an Act 
authorizing the appointment of Commissioners to " itinerate among and 
lecture to the people of color in the United States of North-America, to 
present to them the claims of Liberia, and its superior advantages as a 
desirable home for persons of African descent." The President appointed 
for this work, Professors Crummell and Blyden and J. D. Johnson, Esq. 

90 Liberia's offering. 

that the glorious principles of a Christian civilization 
would diffuse themselves throughout those benighted 
communities. Oh ! that our people would take this 
matter into serious consideration, and think of the 
great privilege of kindling in the depths of the moral 
and spiritual gloom of Africa a glorious light — of caus- 
ing the wilderness and the solitary place to be glad — 
the desert to bloom and blossom as the rose — and the 
whole land to be converted into a garden of the Lord. 
Liberia, then, appeals to the colored men of this 
country for assistance in the noble work which she has 
begun. She appeals to those who believe that the 
descendants of Africa live in the serious neglect of their 
duty if they fail to help to raise the land of their fore- 
fathers from her degradation. She appeals to those 
who believe that a well-established African nationality 
is the most direct and efficient means of securing re- 
spectability and independence for the African race. 
She appeals to those who believe that a rich and fertile 
country, like Africa, which has lain so long under the 
cheerless gloom of ignorance, should not be left any 
longer without the influence of Christian civilization — 
to those who deem it a far more glorious work to save 
extensive tracts of country from barbarism and con- 
tinued degradation than to amass for themselves the 
means of individual comfort and aggrandizement — to 
those who believe that there was a providence in the 
deportation of our forefathers from the land of their 
birth, and that that same providence now points to a 
work in Africa to be done by us their descendants. 
Finally, Liberia appeals to all African patriots and 
Christians — to all lovers of order and refinement — to 
lovers of industry and enterprise — of peace, comfort, 
and happiness — -to those who having felt the power of 

Liberia's offering. 91 

the Gospel in opening up to them life and immortality, 
are desirous that their benighted kindred should share 
in the same blessings. " Behold, the Lord thy God 
hath set the land before thee : go up and possess it, as 
the Lord God of thy fathers hath said unto thee ; fear 
not, neither be discouraged." 





JANUARY 23, 18t>2 


Gentlemen of the Bowd of Trustees, and Respected 

Audience : 

An old and venerable custom, existing in countries 
where colleges and universities have been long estab- 
lished, requires that he who is entering upon the re- 
sponsible office of Professor, should publicly express 
the views which he entertains of the duties devolved 
upon him, and the manner in which he will discharge 
those duties. It is in accordance with this custom that 
I appear before you to-day. 

This is an auspicious day for Liberia, and for West- 
Africa. The first College Edifice erected on this be- 
nighted shore has been completed; and we, descend- 
ants of Africa, are assembled to inaugurate it. Perhaps 
this very day, one century ago, some of our forefathers 
were being dragged to the hold of some miserable 
slaver, to enter upon those horrible sufferings of the 
"middle passage," preliminary to their introduction 
into scenes and associations of deeper woe. To-day, 
their descendants having escaped the fiery ordeal of 
oppression and slavery, and having returned to their 
ancestral home, are laying the foundation of intellectual 
empire, upon the very soil whence their fathers were 
torn, in their ignorance and degradation. Strange and 
mysterious providence ! 

96 Liberia's offering. 

It is among the most fortunate circumstances, con- 
nected with, the founding of Liberia, that schools of a 
high order, and now a college, should be established in 
this early period of her history. It is impossible to 
maintain our national independence, or grow in the ele- 
ments of national prosperity, unless the people are gene- 
rally imbued with a proper sense of their duties and 
responsibilities, as citizens of a free government. The 
duties which devolve upon the citizens of Liberia, are 
as diversified and important as those which devolve 
upon citizens of larger nations and communities ; and, 
in order to discharge those duties faithfully and suc- 
cessfully, we need all the fitness and qualification which 
citizens of larger nations possess. To say, as has been 
too often said, by persons abroad and by persons here, 
that the establishment of a college in Liberia at present 
is premature, is to set aside the experience of older 
countries, and to ignore the testimony which comes to 
us from a hundred communities far in advance of us, 
showing the indispensableness of institutions of a higher 
order, to send down, through all the ramifications of 
society, the streams of wholesome and elevating influ- 

I regard this, then, as an auspicious day for Liberia ; 
hoping that there will be such a feeling of appreciation, 
on the part of our people, of the importance of this In- 
stitution, and such active cooperation with it, as shall 
render it useful as a means of building us up in all 
those qualities which shall fit us for the discharge of 
our various duties, and draw towards us the attention 
and respect of the civilized world. 

The fear need not be entertained that a course of 
stujdy in this Institution will unfit men for the practical 
duties of life, render them proud, and distant, and 

libeeia's offering. 97 

haughty, and overbearing. Such is not the effect of a 
true education. I am aware that there prevails with 
some — and perhaps not entirely without foundation — 
the opinion that the effect of superior education is to 
inflate men and render them impracticable. There 
have been some among us who, not having trodden 
even the threshold of the temple of knowledge, have 
assumed an air of mysteriousness and profundity, in 
order to impress the multitude with their intellectual 
superiority and extraordinary importance. This is not, 
however, the legitimate effect of true knowledge. They 
are utter strangers to the genial influence of literature 
upon the social sentiments, who suppose that men must 
be distant, and haughty, and cold, in proportion as they 
are profound. The man who has really ascended Par- 
nassus, does not encounter there, as on some Alpine 
summit, everlasting snows and ice, which chill and con- 
tract the heart. No ; he finds himself in a warm and 
delightful atmosphere, which expands the heart, quick- 
ens the emotions, arouses the slumbering affections of 
the soul, and fits him for communication and commu- 
nion with other minds ; so that he experiences the 
greatest possible pleasure, in participating with others 
the benefits he enjoys. He does not, when he ascends 
the hill of science, find there luxuriant groves which 
allure him into ease and inactivity, where, like Tityrus, 

11 Patulee recubans sub tegmine fagi," 

he might pass life away in quiet enjoyment. No; he 
has only reached a point from which he can contem- 
plate the work to be done, and gather materials for car- 
rying it on. 

Every country has its peculiar circumstances and 
characteristics. So has Liberia. From this fact, it has 
often been argued that we need a peculiar kind of edu- 

98 Liberia's offering. 

cation ; not so niuch colleges and high schools, as other 
means, which are more immediately and obviously con- 
nected with our progress. But to this we reply, that 
if we are a part of the human family, we have the same 
intellectual needs that other men have, and they must 
be supplied by the same means. It shows a painful ig- 
norance of history, to consider the present state of 
things in Liberia as new and unprecedented, in such a 
sense as to render dispensable those most important and 
fundamental means of improvement, which other coun- 
tries have enjoyed. Mind is every where the same ; 
and every where it receives character and formation 
from the same elemental principles. If it have been 
properly formed and have received a substantial charac- 
ter, it will work out its own calling, solve its own pro- 
blem, achieve its own destiny. 

No country in the world needs, more than Liberia, 
to have mind properly directed. We are here isolated 
from the civilized world, and surrounded by a benighted 
people, with whom we are closely identified. And, in 
these circumstances, we are making the experiment, 
which, I venture to say, has never been made before, of 
establishing and maintaining a popular government, 
with a population, for the most part, of emancipated 
slaves. The government is thrown into the hands of 
the people, and they are called upon to give their 
opinions upon all subjects which can affect us as a na- 
tion; upon all the difficult subjects of finance, of legis- 
lation, and the most intricate points of constitutional 
law. Not only do they utter their opinions, but it is 
their right and privilege to act upon these opinions ; 
and they do act upon them — with what success, alas ! 
we are too well aware. And in addition to these polit- 
ical responsibilities, wje have philanthropic duties to 

Liberia's offering. 99 

perform towards our aboriginal brethren — duties which 
require no little degree of intelligence and virtue. 

De Tocqueville informs us that, before the colony 
that landed at Plymouth was as old as Liberia, there 
were laws enacted, establishing schools in every town- 
ship, and obliging the inhabitants, under pain of heavy 
fines, to support them. Schools of a superior kind 
were founded in the same manner in the more pop- 
ulous districts. The municipal authorities were bound 
to enforce the sending of children to school by their 
parents.* It is certainly a very remarkable fact, that, 
in New-England, by the time the first child born in 
the colony had reached a proper age for admission 
to college, a college was established. They did not 
wait to have all those preparations, which some have 
fancied are necessary before Liberians can reap the 
benefit of a college. We are informed that the forests 
were yet standing ; the Indian was still the near neigh- 
bor of the largest settlements ; the colonists were yet 
dependent on the mother country for the very necessa- 
ries of life ; and the very permanence of their settle- 
ments was as yet undecided, when they were erecting 
high schools and colleges. They did not regard it as 
too early to provide for the thorough education of their 
children. They had left their fatherland to seek an 
asylum of liberty on those distant shores, and they well 
knew that intelligence was indispensable to the enjoy- 
ment and maintenance of true liberty. 

The people of the South were no less eager to pro- 
vide themselves with the means of education. The 
colony of Virginia was still struggling against the diffi- 
ties and embarrassments incident to feeble settlements, 
when the first efforts were made by the inhabitants to 

* Democracy in America, vol. i. chap. 7. 

100 Liberia's offering. 

establish a college. As early as 1619, grants of land, 
and liberal subscriptions, were obtained for the endow- 
ment of the University of Henrico ; and we may form 
some idea of the weak state of the colony, when we 
learn that the University was destroyed by an Indian 
massacre, and that the colony came very near being ex- 
terminated. Before the close of that century, however, 
the College of William and Mary was in successful 

Why then should not Liberia, after forty years' exist- 
ence, having secured the confidence and respect of the 
aboriginal tribes, enjoy the means of superior educa- 
tion ? The name College, applied to this Institution, may 
seem ambitious ; but it is not too early in our history 
for us to aim at such institutions. Of course we can 
not expect that it will at once fulfill all the conditions 
of colleges in advanced countries ; but it may, in time, 
as many American colleges have done, grow into an In- 
stitution of respectability and extensive usefulness. 

It can not be denied, that the studies which shall be 
pursued in this Institution are of great utility to this 
country just now. The college course will include all 
those studies by which a people's mind and heart are 
formed. We shall have the study of language in the 
most perfect forms in which it has ever been spoken by 
man — a study which, as we shall endeavor to show, 
aids greatly in the training and discipline of the mind. 

We shall have the study of mathematics and physi- 
cal science — which involves, of course, a study of the 
laws of nature, and the acquirement of the essential 
preliminary knowledge of all calculations, measure- 
ments and observations, on the sea and on the land. 

We shall have — besides jurisprudence and interna- 

* President Hale's Inaugural Address, Geneva College, 1836. 

libeeia's offering. 101 

tional law — tlie study of intellectual and moral philo- 
sophy, by which, is gained a knowledge of the mind, and 
the laws of thought, and of our duties to ourselves, to 
our fellow-men, to society, and to God. 

Will any one of the studies, which I have enumer- 
ated, be superfluous in Liberia ? So far from it, the 
course does not supply all our deficiencies. 

But we need & practical education in Liberia. True ; 
and so did the first settlers of North- America. And 
does not the college course supply such an education ? 
What is a practical education ? It is not simply pre- 
paring a person specially for any one sphere of life. It 
aims at practical results of a more important character 
— at imparting not simply skill in keeping accounts — 
in pleading at the bar — in surveying land — in navigat- 
ing a vessel — but skill in exercising the intellect accu- 
rately and readily, upon any subject brought before it. 
The skill secured by a college education, is skill in the 
use of the mind. 

The influence of the colleges planted in New-England, 
and elsewhere in the United States, in their early days, 
was most remarkable. " The eloquence nurtured at 
Harvard, rung like a trumpet-call, through town and 
forest, to rouse the quiet inhabitants to the revolution- 
ary struggle ; and the intelligence and learning which, 
starting from her classic shades, had been diffused 
through the whole community, had prepared all for 
understanding and discussing the principles of that 
liberty which belonged to them as men, and was guar- 
anteed to them by the British constitution. Many of 
the lofty spirits of those times were taught to reason, 
and prepared to meet, in the discussion of the great 
questions at issue, the ablest counselors of the old 
world, and to maintain the cause of their country in 

102 Liberia's offering. 

the senate chamber — in these early institutions of learn- 
ing. The success of that country in the struggle which 
made her free, as well as in commerce and the arts, has 
been owing to the unusual intelligence and virtue of 
her people — virtue, which could not have existed with- 
out intelligence, and was nourished by the same means 
— and intelligence, derived from her higher seats of 
learning, and diffused through her pulpits and her se- 
condary schools, which, obtaining from the colleges 
educated teachers, shone with a borrowed but most 
salutary light upon the humblest cottages of the land." 
As I remarked at the outset, the usage which brings 
me before you to-day, enjoins upon the speaker a topic 
which shall not be alien from the work in which he is 
to be engaged in the Institution. Allow^ me, therefore, 
to ask your kind attention, while I devote a portion of 
time to the consideration of the subject of Language, 
and to setting forth the value and utility of the Latin 
and Greek languages, as means of education and cul- 

I. Language is not natural to man. I mean that it 
did not originate with man. In common with other 
animals, man, as soon as he is born, can use the voice as 
a medium of communication, but only in a succession of 
cries ; he can not articulate ; he can not use language 
until he is taught, or until he acquires it by imitation. 
There is a diversity of opinion with regard to the origin 
of language ; some supposing that the first man found 
himself suddenly endowed with the ability to give ex- 
pression to his thoughts by oral sounds ; while others 
maintain that, like all other attainments of man, lan- 
guage was made gradually. The latter opinion seems 
the more reasonable. We can not, from all we know 
of man, believe that this very important means of in- 

Liberia's offering. 103 

tercourse with his fellows — of conveying his thoughts, 
feelings, and experiences, to distant generations, was 
left to his invention, or to his precarious ingenuity. 
Man, left to himself, has never discovered any means of 
conveying his thoughts by articulate sounds. It is con- 
clusively proved, that new-born babes, when left to 
themselves, or exposed among beasts, utter only sounds 
in imitation of those beasts.* The most natural way 
to man, of expressing his ideas, is by signs. This is the 
universal language. This is the only way that deaf 
mutes, who can not hear and imitate sounds, can con- 
vey their own and receive the impressions of others. 
Nearly all the travelers among the North-American 
Indians agree that they have ever had & language of 
signs, and can understand each other in this way, when 
they are unable to comprehend each other's speech ; so 
that individuals of two far-distant Indian tribes, who 
understand not a word of each other's language, will 
intelligibly converse together, and contract engage- 
ments, without interpreters, " in such a surprising man- 
ner as is scarcely credible." 

The infinite variety of languages which now so much 
impedes and incommodes the general intercourse of 
nations is the result of .direct divine interposition- 
The whole earth, prior to the building of the tower of 
Babel, was " of one language, and of one speech ;" but 
during the erection of that ambitious structure, the Lord 
" came down" and " confounded their language." Philo- 
logists have classified the various languages in groups, 
or families ; but they seem reducible to one primitive 
idiom. " Every progress in the comparative study of 
languages, brings to light new analogies in the structure 
and in the grammatical forms and affinities of the roots 

* Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. xviii. p. 775. 

104 Liberia's offering. 

and terms ; even the languages of the new continents do 
not seem to be excepted from this general resemblance." 
A distinguished American philologist beautifully says : 
" Nothing is found in the realms of speech, any more 
than in those of nature, c without father or mother.' 
Here, as every where else, the maxim is true, l Ex nihilo, 
nihil fit.' The languages, therefore, of the world, like 
the men who have spoken them, have all been bound to- 
gether by a regular series of sequences, running link by 
link in luminous beauty, from any and every language 
now spoken upon earth, to the first language in which 
listening angels heard Adam and Eve discourse to each 
other ; and from that back to God himself, the great 
All-in-all, from whose own girdle the golden chain of 
human speech divine was dropped lovingly down to 
man, in order to bind him to himself, and all nations 
in heavenly sympathy with each other."* Says Dr. 
Kalisch, an able Hebrew divine: "The linguistic re- 
searches of modern times have more and more confirmed 
the theory of one primitive Asiatic language, gradually 
developed into the various modifications by external 
agencies and influences. Formerly the Hebrew tongue 
was, by many scholars, advocated as the original idiom ; 
for it was maintained both by early Jewish and Christ- 
ian authorities, that as the race of Shem were no part- 
ners in the impious work of the Tower, they remained 
in possession of the first language, which the fathers of 
the earliest age had left to Noah ; but this view, like 
the more recent one, that a child, if left alone, without 
human society, would speak Hebrew, is now classed 
among the popular errors."f 

The greater number of scientific writers on language, 
agree that there was one primitive language, from which 

* Dwight, Bib. Sacra, vol. xv. p. 404. 

| Historical and Critical Comment on Genesis, chap. xi. 

Liberia's offering. 105 

all the languages now spoken have sprung, and that 
that language was communicated to man by the Al- 
mighty. The question as to which language it was, is 
not quite settled; at present the probability inclines 
more to the Sanscrit. 

II. Language is progressive. God did not, in other 
departments of his work, make at once full and com- 
plete manifestations ; there was a gradual unfolding, 
according to circumstances, until there came to pass a 
full development. So we have every reason to believe 
it was with language. Man, in his primitive condition, 
did not possess all those mental states and wants which 
only age and experience could bring with them; he 
could not, therefore, have words to express what he had 
not seen, felt, or heard ; nor could he form any concep- 
tions, except from the things with which he was then 
in contact. When, therefore, the Divine Being assisted 
or instructed the first man to express by words his feel- 
ings, intentions, and thoughts, the instruction was adapt- 
ed to his wants and circumstances. The simple forms 
of language which he then received, have been succes- 
sively developed, and modified, and perfected, according 
as man has increased in the necessities and the arts of 
life. We find that among barbarous tribes, language 
is rude and deficient in point of words; so that the 
civilized foreigner, who wishes to convey his own ideas 
through the medium of such language, finds insuper- 
able difficulties. Words are multiplied in proportion 
as the number of the ideas of a people is increased. 
Language " begins with the dawn of reflective con- 
sciousness, and unfolds itself as this becomes deeper 
and clearer."* 

* Professor Shedd's Address on the Relation of Language to Thought. 

106 Liberia's offering. 

Even in highly civilized countries, the vernacular, 
strictly speaking, or the language spoken by the masses, 
is very limited as to words, compared with the language 
of the educated. It is said that in England, the lower 
classes can not understand above one fourth part of that 
English which the higher classes speak. If any of the 
former visit the House of Lords, they sometimes sit 
with as much astonishment and disprofit, as if the de- 
bates were conducted in a new language. The vocabu- 
lary of terms used in the Houses of Parliament is one 
which is never pressed into the service of the common 

The character of the language spoken by any people 
is, therefore, a sure standard by which to judge of the 
attainments of that people in the arts of life. The 
poverty of the language of the ancient Britons, if we 
had no other proof of their extremely rude condition, 
would be enough to convince us that they had made 
very little progress in civilization. Even after the 
Saxon and Danish languages had been blended with 
each other, and with the aboriginal tongue, still the 
composite language had no " aptitude for all the highest 
purposes of the poet, the philosopher, and the orator," 
until it had been enriched by contributions from the 
languages of Greece and Rome. Take any of the lead- 
ing English historians, Hume, Gibbon, Hallam, or Ma- 
caulay, and you will find that nearly three fourths of 
the words employed by them are of foreign origin ; 
because there were no poets or philosophers, historians 
or orators, among the aboriginal inhabitants of that 
country. The language has progressed as the people 
have improved. 

* Py croft's Ways and Words of Men of Letters. 


III. Language lies at the beginning and occupies an 
important place in the continuation of all human educa- 
tion. The child must first learn to understand language 
before he can receive ideas in any great number or varie- 
ty ; and he must learn to speak before he can express his 
wants. And when he grows up, if, in his early years, 
he has neglected the study of language, it matters not 
what progress or discoveries he may make in physical 
or mathematical science ; before his knowledge can be 
made available, he must learn the use of language. 
This was the experience of George Stephenson, of rail- 
way notoriety, of Hugh Miller, and of others who, by 
force of " good, original brain," have arisen from a child- 
hood of obscurity and poverty, to a useful and dis- 
tinguished manhood. 

The mastery of language, then, is a very important ele- 
ment in our qualification for usefulness. All our attain- 
ments would be useless, so far as accomplishing their 
true end is concerned, if we had no means of comrnu 
nion or communication with other minds. The true 
uses of knowledge are not to be found in centralization, 
but in distribution. And it is only by this distribu 
tion of our intellectual resources that we can enlarge 
them. Here also the scriptural assertion is verified: 
" There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth ; there is 
that withholdeth more than is meet, and it tendeth to 
poverty." "Shut up within one's self, thought stag- 
nates and knowledge decays." Language, therefore, as 
the instrument which an unerring Divinity has given 
to man for communicating thought and feeling, should 
be carefully studied and mastered, not only in its gram- 
matical inflections and syntactical combinations, but in 
its original and derivative aspects. 

As a means of thus mastering language, of under- 

108 libeeia's offeeing. 

standing its genius and power, all the distinguished 
educators of modern times have chosen the study of the 
Greek and Latin languages. The Greek language is 
artistic and complete in its grammatical structure — a 
language of gracefulness and beauty, and highly adapt- 
ed to aesthetic culture. The cultivation of the beauti- 
ful is one of the first steps towards civilization. The 
Greeks, who as a nation were the type of beauty, were 
an element in the development of mankind ; and their 
language is indispensable to the opening of the mind 
for the reception and pursuit of abstract ideas. It was 
a language which the Romans assiduously studied, as a 
means of culture. The greatest orators and poets of 
Rome were cultivated by it. The famous advice of 

Horace will recur to the classical reader : 


" Vos exemplaria Gra3ca 
Nocturna versate manu, versate diurna." * 

The Latin language must be studied, not only for the 
disciplinary influence of the study upon the mind, but 
for its vast resources ; its inward treasures, as well as 
its outward relations. It is connected with nearly all 
the languages of the past, and has contributed of its 
wealth to the formation of all the important modern 
languages. Its acquisition is really the key to a tho- 
rough knowledge of all the languages of the enlight- 
ened part of mankind. 

THe Latin and Greek languages have furnished all 
the linguistic culture, and have contributed to all the 
rich results of the higher education of the whole civil- 
ized world, for the last two thousand years. They who 
contemptuously speak of them as "dead" languages, 
know not that such utterances illustrate their own lack 
of culture. These languages are " dead " to them, in all 

* Epistola ad Pisones, 286. 

libeeia's offering. 109 

tlieir inward "beauty and force, and in all their outward 
scientific relations ; they can no more appreciate them, 
than a blind man can appreciate the colors of the rain- 
bow, or a deaf man the sweet concords of music. To 
men of high culture, however, these languages are still 
living, and their power is every day felt. Without a 
knowledge of them, no Englishman, Frenchman, Span- 
iard, or Italian, can thoroughly comprehend his own 
vernacular ; wl^lst the man who has cultivated an ac- 
quaintance with them, is possessed of the elements of 
nearly all the languages qf Southern Europe. Without 
the slightest acquaintance with the Italian language, he 
will feel at home in Italy. Before he has seen a French 
or Spanish grammar, or heard a Frenchman or Spaniard 
speak, he will be able to sit down and read, with some 
satisfaction, French and Spanish literature. Such is 
the influence of these " dead " languages upon the liter- 
ature of the day. 

The Greek and Latin languages must be studied by 
the English student, in order to a complete mastery of 
his own language. The English language is, for the 
most part, a derived language, secondary in its origin. 
" Into the English, as into the bosom of a great central 
sea, all the streams of the past and present have poured, 
and are still pouring their varied contents." To under- 
stand this language, thoroughly, then, we must give 
attention to those languages which have contributed 
most largely to its formation. Many persons who, not 
possessing a knowledge of these " dead " languages, 
suppose themselves to be very good English scholars, 
every day use words whose meaning they do not under- 
stand. They refer with great confidence to their Eng- 
lish dictionaries as the ultimate standard, not knowing 
that even in the best dictionaries the etymological 

110 libeeia's offering. 

scholar discovers fatal deficiencies. The man who is 
entirely devoid of a knowledge of the Greek and Latin 
languages can never, generally speaking, use English 
words with skill or satisfaction to himself. He can not 
perceive, in the words which he uses, their original life 
and beauty. He can not, out of the very words them- 
selves, give his reason for employing them in preference 
to others. He must be the slave of his dictionary ; and 
all his lexicographical researches must b| uncertain and 
unsatisfactory. No perfection of English scholarship 
can be acquired without a knowledge of the " dead " 

But there is a still higher reason for the study of 
these languages, and that is, the mental culture and 
discipline which they afford. No other means has yet 
been found to supply their place, for purposes of scho- 
lastic discipline. All the present culture of Europe, 
and the pure and elevated taste manifested by her best 
scholars, have been derived from the study of the Greek 
and Roman writers. After the lapse of centuries, those 
great masters of thought stand unrivaled in their pecu- 
liar sphere as the intellectual educators of mankind. 
To neglect them, is to shut ourselves out from delight- 
ful associations with the best minds. It is through 
them we have access to the most sacred places of 
thought, and enjoy the influence of those mighty con- 
ceptions which still control the literary world. It is 
through them that we are carried back to the youthful 
clays of the world, and enjoy something of the freshness 
and vigor of those early times — the spring-time of hu- 
man intellect. " Greece and Rome," to quote the elo- 
quent language of Dr. Temple,* " have given us more 
than any results of discipline, in the never-dying mem- 
ory of their fresh and youthful life. It is this, and not 

* Head-Master of Rugby School. 

libekia's offeking. Ill 

only the greatness or the genius of the classical writers, 
which makes their literature preeminent above all 
others. There have been great poets, great historians, 
great philosophers, in modern days. Greece can show 
few poets equal, none superior to Shakspeare. Gib- 
bon, in many respects, stands above all ancient histo- 
rians. Bacon was as great a master of philosophy as 
Aristotle. Nor, again, are there wanting, great writers 
of times older, as well as of times later, than the Greek ; 
as, for instance, the Hebrew prophets. But the classics 
possess a charm quite independent of genius. It is not 
their genius only which makes them attractive. It is 
the classic life, the life of the people of that day. It is 
the image there only to be seen, of our highest natural 
powers in their freshest vigor. It is the unattainable 
grace of the prime of manhood. It is the pervading 
sense of youthful beauty. Hence, while we have else- 
where great poems and great histories, we never find 
again that universal radiance of fresh life which makes 
even the most commonplace relics of classic days, 
models for our highest art. The common workman of 
those times breathed the atmosphere of the gods. 
What are now the ornaments of our museums, were 
then the every day furniture of sitting and sleeping- 
rooms. In the great monuments of their literature, we 
can taste this pure inspiration most largely ; but even 
the most commonplace fragments of a classic writer, 
are steeped in the waters of the same fountain. Those 
who compare the moderns with the ancients, genius for 
genius, have no difficulty in claiming for the former, 
equality, if not victory. But the issue is mistaken. 
To combine the highest powers of intellect with the 
freshness of youth, was possible only once, and that is 
the glory of the classic nations."* 

* "The Education of the World," in Essays and Reviews, 1861. 

112 Liberia's offering. 

But it has been asked : " Why devote so much time 
to the study of those authors in their own language, 
when they have been so well and ably translated? 
Why undergo the labor to traverse the same ground 
which they passed over, to bring to us those hidden 
treasures ? Why not use our time and strength in 
accomplishing something else ?" We reply, that the 
road to learning can not be made royal. It is true that 
the present ever gathers into itself the results of the 
past ; that the world is to-day what it is, as the result 
of the whole of its antecedents ; that " we reap the 
fruits of the toil of the men of the earliest ages ;" but 
this is true with regard to the race in the aggregate. 
The individual man must undergo an intellectual dis- 
cipline, more or less severe, before he can be prepared 
to comprehend and to profit by the results of the past. 
The faculties of the child that is born to-day are essen- 
tially the same as those of the child born in the earliest 
period, and must be developed by a similar process, 
though there may be a vast difference in the ultimate 
development. Of all men of eminent abilities, in all 
ages, it may be said: 

" The eminence they reached and kept, 
Was not attained by sudden flight, 
But they, while their companions slept, 
Were toiling upwards in the night." 

Every man must go over the same ground, experience 
the same toil, struggle with the same difficulties. No 
man, in any generation, is born with wings to enable 
him to soar to the lofty hights of literature or science. 
It is by " slow degrees, by more and more," that those 
" cloudy summits " are " scaled and climbed." And 
every man, as by painful efforts he ascends those emi- 
nences, may, from the boundless prospect and varied 
wealth, bring contributions to literature and science. 

Liberia's offering. 113 

The discipline of mind which is secured from the 
study of the dead languages can not be obtained by 
the use of translations. They are the only languages 
which are developed according to the rules of perfect 
art ; and no other language can fully supply their place. 
Besides the wholesome exercise which is derived from 
the weighing and balancing of the meaning of words, 
observing and preserving nice distinctions, there is the 
process of reasoning which must be employed in every 
effort to translate. The student who has read one or 
two leading Latin and Greek works, has not much more 
labor with the lexicon. What he needs now, in prose- 
cuting the study of the classic authors, is " a clear head 
and close attention to the context."* The drudgery of 
" hunting up " every word in the lexicon, is ended ; and 
he has reached a region of plodding, indeed, but of 
higher, intellectual plodding. Being able to select his 
own meaning for each word out of the word itself and 
its connections, he goes beyond the mere forms of words 
and sentences, to the principles they contain. He im- 
bibes the spirit of the writer. His mind enlarges. He 
learns to form a correct estimate of the merits and de- 
fects of composition. His taste is quickened, purified, 
and elevated ; and by being obliged to extend his vo- 
cabulary as widely as that of the author he translates, 
he necessarily becomes familiar with a number of new 
words, of which, perhaps, under other circumstances, 
he might only have heard. He thus acquires a com- 
mand of language, and enters upon a course of indefi- 
nite improvement — a road that leads to the loftiest 

And then the study of translations can not introduce 
us to a knowledge of the style- and beauties of the clas- 

* Macaulay's Essay on the Athenian Orators. 

114 Liberia's offering. 

sic authors. We must become acquainted with them 
through the words they spoke and wrote, and the man- 
ner in which they spoke and wrote those words. It is 
true that the thoughts and opinions of Herodotus, Xeno- 
phon, and Demosthenes, of Cicero, Horace, and Tacitus, 
may be expressed in a translation. We may be able, 
by studying translations, to get something of the sub- 
stance of the original. But of the peculiar character 
and spirit of the style of the writer ; of those special 
qualities which belong to and are inseparable from the 
languages in which they wrote ; of those associations 
which are often linked to a single word, and which no 
combination of English words can express — of all these 
things, we can get only an imperfect idea from the most 
exact translation. " The dead languages possess not 
merely a grammatical structure essentially unlike that 
of living languages, but a peculiar system of poetic 
symbols, which, often with one expression, open an 
entire gallery of pictures, that must be, almost invari- 
ably, lost in a translation."* 

The experience of all the literary men in the world 
proves that the study of classical literature, as a means 
of intellectual culture, is highly important. But it 
must be pursued as a means, not as an end ; not to 
make us expert in verbal criticisms, or for pedantic 
displays, but for the discipline of mind, which the 
perusal and contemplation of the great models impart ; 
for the large, thoroughly genial, and generous scholar- 
ship which they bestow. Pursued in this way, the 
influence of classical literature can not fail to be bene- 
ficial. Sir Robert Peel, who won the first honors at 
the Oxford University, both in the classics and mathe- 
matics, declared that " by. far the greater portion of the 

• * Bishop Esaias Tegner. 

Liberia's offering. 115 

chief names that have floated down on the stream of 
time, are those of men eminent for classical acquire- 
ments and classical tastes." " Take the Cambridge 
Calendar, for two hundred years," says Lord Macaulay, 
" look at the Church, the Parliament, or the Bar, and it 
has always been the case that the men who were first 
in the competition of the schools have been the first in 
the competition of life." All the distinguished scholars 
of Great Britain have been deeply imbued with clas- 
sical learning. Curran, the Irish orator, carried his 
Virgil always in his pocket. Fox was devoted to the 
classics. Sheridan pored over Euripides by night and 
by day. Pitt is said to have been the best Greek 
scholar in England. Lord Brougham — himself a mar- 
vel of classical lore — in giving an account of the manner 
in which Robertson, the historian, studied composition, 
says : " Translations from the classics, and especially 
from the Greek, of which he was a perfect master, 
formed a considerable part of his labor. Lie considered 
this exercise as well calculated to give an accurate 
knowledge of our own language, by obliging us to 
weigh the shades of difference between words or 
phrases, and to find the expression, whether by the 
selection of the terms or the turning of the idiom, 
which is required for a given meaning."*''" The same 
distinguished nobleman gives the following advice — 
the result of his own rich and varied experience — to 
a young student : 

"If he would be a great orator, he must go at once to the fountain-head, 
and be familiar with every one of the great orations of Demosthenes. His 
taste will improve every time he reads and repeats to himself, (for he should 
have the fine passages by heart,) and he will learn how much may be done 
by a skillful use of a few words, and a rigorous rejection of superfluities. 
In this view, I hold a familiar knowledge of Dante to be next to Demosthe- 

* Lives of Men of Letters and Science. 

116 libekia's offering. 

nes. It is in vain to say that imitations of these models won't do for our 
times. First, I do not counsel any imitation, but only an imbibing of the 
same spirit. Secondly, I know from experience, that nothing is half so 
successful in these times, (bad though they be,) as what has been formed 
on the Greek models. I use a very poor instance in giving my own experi- 
ence, but I do assure you, that both in courts of law and Parliament, and 
even to mobs, I have never made so much play, (to use a very modern 
phrase,) as when I was almost translating from the Greek. I composed 
the peroration of my speech for the Queen in the Lords, after reading and 
repeating Demosthenes for three or four weeks, and I composed it twenty 
times over at least, and it certainly succeeded in a very extraordinary degree, 
and far above any merits of its own."* 

But it is objected to these classical pursuit s, that 
these are practical times, and the facilities for practical 
information are so multitudinous that it is far more 
profitable for the purposes of life to devote attention to 
the exuberance and diversity of knowledge to be found 
in the innumerable newspapers and jDeriodicals of the 
day than to waste time in poring over the relics of 
antiquity ; that, in these days, when the prodigious 
powers of the press are developed in the regular and 
unceasing issue of pamphlets and tracts, works in series 
and light literature, men might dispense with every 
other means of improvement and instruction. " Why 
need we go up to knowledge when knowledge comes 
down to us V To this we reply once more, that culture 
must be attained by the same means by which it has 
always been attained. Every man, before he can be 
fitted for the more important intellectual achievements, 
must tread the highway of hard work and laborious 
practice. The mind must first be formed before it can 
be filled to advantage. Our real improvement depends 
not so much upon the quantity as upon the quality of 
w T hat the mind takes in, and upon the manner in which 

» * Letter to Zachary Macaulay, in 1823, -with reference to his son, Thomas Bab- 
ington Macaulay, the historian, then at Cambridge. 


it is taken in. Lord Macaulay tells us, that " Kumford 
proposed to the Elector of Bavaria a scheme for feed- 
ing his soldiers at a much cheaper rate than formerly. 
His plan was simply to compel them to masticate their 
food thoroughly. A small quantity thus eaten, accord- 
ing to that famous projector, affords more sustenance 
than a large meal hastily devoured."* Thus it is with 
the mind ; not the cramming, but the mastication and 
the digestion secure the nutriment. A man may con- 
stantly devour all the periodicals and newspapers, as 
they are daily issued throughout the world, and after 
he has gathered all the information they contain, may 
not be as well prepared for usefulness and efficiency in 
the world of letters as the man who has patiently given 
his time and attention to one or two of the great mas- 
ters in the language in which they wrote. Some of 
the great English writers devoted nearly all their time 
to the study of one or two of the classic authors. A 
learned and distinguished English nobleman carried 
his admiration of one of them so far as to exclaim: 

" Read Homer once, and you can read no more ; 
For all books else appear so mean, so poor, 
Verse will seem prose ; but still persist to read, 
And Homer will be all the books you need."* 

The classics have been tried for centuries ; their value 
and utility have often been denied, but they have as 
often been successfully defended ; so that now, in the 
literary world, there is all but a unanimous decision in 
their favor. 

The friends of education in Liberia have long desired 
to see the same means of intellectual culture which 
other countries have enjoyed, possessed by Liberians ; 

* Essay on the Athenian Orators. 
* Preface to Pope's Translation of the Iliad. 

118 libeeia's offering. 

and as a result of their efforts to secure for us these 
advantages, we have this College. Mind here, as we 
have said, is as mind elsewhere. We must rise, and 
we can rise by the same means by which other people 
have risen. 

By the direction of Divine Providence, a momentous 
experiment has been committed to our hands on these 
benighted shores, an experiment in which are involved, 
to a great extent, the interests of Africa and the African 
race. Our responsibility in this land is a serious one. 
Sometimes we are appalled when we observe the fatal 
facility with which every form of social, moral, and 
political error from abroad takes root among us ; when 
we see the readiness and eagerness with which some 
lay hold of the follies and nonsense which advanced 
communities are endeavoring to throw off. But let our 
hearts be cheered in view of the increase among us of 
those means which will counteract this facile disposi- 
tion. We trust that by the encouragement and gener- 
ous cultivation of literature, the public mind shall be 
directed to high principles and objects worthy of attain- 

Before we can realize all that greatness which we 
sometimes hear predicted in our public orations and 
speeches, we must avail ourselves of all those means by 
which a nation's heart is chastened, purified, and refined- 
We can not expect any special providential interference. 
in our behalf to cause us to glide unconsciously ' into 
distinction and respectability. If we desire among us 
great poets, statesmen, and philosophers, if we would 
have profound theologians and able lawyers, we must 
resort to such books as the great men whose language 
. we speak studied ; to such books as Milton and Cow- 
j>er, Bacon and Newton, Butler and Paley, studied ; to 

Liberia's offering. 119 

the books wliicli tlie great men of England now study ; 
to tlie literary companions of Brougham, Gladstone, 
and D'Israeli ; to Caesar, Horace, and Tacitus ; to De- 
mosthenes and Cicero ; to the JEneid, the Odyssey, and 
the Iliad. We may not expect to despise these and 
reap the fruits which are to be gathered only from 
them. "Till we have discovered some intellectual 
daguerreotype which takes off the course of thought, 
and the form, lineaments, and features of truth, as com- 
pletely and minutely as the optical instrument produces 
the sensible object, we must come to the teachers of 
wisdom to learn wisdom ; we must repair to the fount- 
ain and drink there."* 

If we assiduously use the means of culture, we need 
not fear the results. We shall soon rise to a respect- 
able if not a commanding position in the world of let- 
ters. Though much has been already done, there is 
yet a great deal to be achieved in the field of. science 
and literature ; and may we make no achievements % 
Let us hope that though civilization is well begun, even 
our feeble hands may shape its course ; and that here 
on these benighted shores there may be elaborated 
noble principles out of which shall spring a practice 
that shall be exemplary to the whole civilized world. 

Let us then encourage and sustain this Institution, 
that its influence may go forth into all the land. We 
can not expect that every child will attend college, but 
we may reasonably hope that such an influence will be 
sent forth from this Institution, and others that may 
hereafter be established, that those children who are 
not themselves able to attend college, may enjoy the 
benefit of the influence and tuition of those who have 
attended. Thus a higher tone of intellect will spread 

* Office mid Work of Universities. — J. II. Xewman. 

120 libeeia's offering. 

itself throughout all classes of society ; and high and 
low, rich and poor, all uniting in the one great cause 
of Africa's redemption, we shall advance to national 
usefulness and respectability. 

I feel the responsibility of the position I am assum- 
ing in connection with this Institution. I feel it for 
various reasons, many of which can be ajDpreciated by 
you without any specific reference. I enter upon these 
duties with great diffidence, feeling that, while it is an 
honorable distinction, it will continue so only so long 
as he who fills it " acts well his part." I enter upon 
them, however, with confidence that, with the blessing 
of God, all that we or our friends abroad desire, can be 
accomplished. The liberality which conceived the idea 
of founding this Institution, and which, under various 
discouragements, persisted in carrying out that idea, 
will, we may hope, be continued towards us. In view 
of that liberal support which we may reasonably hope 
the Institution will receive from its friends in the United 
States ; and in view of the feelings so manifest among 
Liberians to do all they can in behalf of the Institution, 
we may feel that the College opens this day under 
favorable auguries. 

As a race we have been quite unfortunate. We have 
no pleasing antecedents — nothing in the past to inspire 
us. All behind us is dark, and gloomy, and repulsive. 
All our agreeable associations are connected with the 
future. When other people speak of glorious reminis- 
cences and recollections, we must speak of glorious 
hopes and expectations. Let us then strive to achieve 
a glorious future. 

" Let the dead Past bury its dead." 

* Let us devote ourselves to all those pursuits, success 

Liberia's offering. 121 

in which will prove our brotherhood with the enlight- 
ened world. It is,« after all, the mind and heart which 
prove the unity of the human races. The inward re- 
semblance is far more forcible than outward disparities. 
We should not content ourselves with simply declaim- 
ing about our equality with the advanced races. Let 
our reply to the slanders of our enemies be a practical 
one. It is evident that it is only those who do not 
know us, except under the most unfavorable circum- 
stances, who speak disparagingly of us. Judging from 
the specialities of their own limited experience, they 
say that we are not susceptible of the same progress ; 
that we can not achieve in science, literature, or art, 
what they can. It would not be wisdom in us to assail 
and abuse them for this, or to indulge in empty decla- 
mations about our ability. Let us, under any and all 
circumstances, prove to them that we can achieve just 
what they can, under similar circumstances — prove it 
practically. In works on logic, the sophistical argu- 
ment is often introduced to prove that motion is impos- 
sible ; and it is usual, before handling it according to 
logical rules, to suggest a practical refutation of it — 
solvitur ambulando. * Such is the reply which we should 
strive to make to those whose interest it has been, and 
now is, to throw discredit upon us. 

It is very true that there must be the struggle and 
perseverance of many years before the associations of 
our oppressed condition in the Western hemisphere, 
with all their train of obloquies and prejudices, shall 
be obliterated. But our case is not unprecedented. 
All peoples who have risen from obscurity have had 
the same opposition of contempt to contend against. 
A few centuries ago the name of Briton was disdained 
by the Romans ; and later still, the name of English- 
man, which is now being carried down on such a tide 

122 Liberia's offering. 

of glory to distant ages, was the object of the impetu- 
ous contempt of the proud Norman?* Let us think of 
this when our adversaries bring their names, and their 
influence, and their arguments to bear against us. And 
when they pour their indignities, and fasten their dis- 
graceful epithets upon us, let us take comfort in the 
thought that we are now beginning to enjoy the means 
which their ancestors were obliged to possess before 
they could rise from their obscure, ignoble, and ignorant 

Many of our adversaries are not ashamed to aver 
that no change of our circumstances will avail to release 
their understanding from the influence of its old associ- 
ations. But such assertions are the result of a narrow 
view of things. We believe that, notwithstanding all 
their perverse representations of us — all their spiteful 
malignity — all their pretended immovable hardness — 
all the inveteracy of their prejudice — they will not be 
able to withstand demonstrations of superior ability, 
furnished by a successful pursuit of science, literature, 
and art. 

But we must acknowledge that there are adverse 
influences, arising from our j>eculi«r circumstances, iso- 
lation from the civilized world, difficulty of procuring 
books and other means of culture. We must, there- 
fore, nerve ourselves for the arduous work that lies 
before us. Our struggle must be the harder and more 
strenuous, in proportion to the unyielding influence of 
the force by which we are opposed. The struggle may 
be long, but let us 23ersevere. The road to greatness, 
whether individual or national, is no " primrose path of 

The first College in West- Africa is founded. Lord 


* See Macaulay's History of England, vol. i. chap. i. 


libekia's offering. 123 

Macaulay's prediction, uttered forty years ago, of the 
illustrious University at Thnbuctoo,* though uttered 
jocosely, is receiving realization. Truth is proving it- 
self stranger than fiction. We hail this Institution as 
the precursor of incalculable blessings to this benighted 
land — as the harbinger of a bright and happy future 
for science, literature, and art, and for all the noblest 
interests of the African race. 

* In a very humorous and entertaining article, styled "A prophetic account of 
an Epic Poem, to be published in 2824," Lord Macaulay predicts that in that year 
there will exist at Timbuctoo — established how long previously he does not say — 
an illustrious University, to which all the ingenuous youths of every country will 
be attracted by the high scientific character and eminent literary attainments of 
its Professors. — Miscellaneous Writings, vol. i. p. 142. 






Nurtaque Veritas quando ullum inveniet parem ? — Hor. 

% ^nlffflS i^oitonttcelr on $th $a|m fag- 

There are times in the history of nations as of incli. 
viduals, when they are called npon by the voice of Pro- 
vidence to look back upon their past, to examine their 
present, and to endeavor to rectify whatever is wrong, 
to adjust whatever is disordered, and to harmonize 
whatever is discordant in their social and political or- 
ganization, to see whether they have not departed too 
far from the old landmarks, or whether, destitute of an 
experience sufficient for a wise eclecticism, they have 
not adopted principles which militate against their pro- 
gress and success. And, perhaps, no occasion more 
naturally suggests this retrospection and introspection 
than when called upon, as we are called upon this even- 
ing, to recite the history and reproduce the examples of 
those who have occupied positions of trust and respon- 
sibility, who have made themselves useful to the com- 
munity ; by whose wisdom, patriotism, and energy the 
nation has been advanced in respectability and prosper- 
ity, but who, by the rude entrance of death, have been 
torn from our embraces. 

And, perhaps, there never was a time in the history 
of Liberia when we needed more carefully to ponder 
our condition ; when the necessity seemed greater to 
hold up to our view whatever was virtuous and exem- 
plary in the character of our fathers ; that by summon- 
ing to our gaze, from those pure and lofty regions, their 

128 Liberia's offering. 

noble spirits, there may possibly be disposted from the 
midst of us that selfishness and unpatriotic feeling, and 
that spirit of disunion which we fear are taking the 
place of the public spirit, the enlarged benevolence, the 
self-sacrificing zeal, and the spirit of unity, under the 
influence of which this nation was founded, and by the 
aid of which it has been brought thus far. 

The history of the late Rev. John Day, which we 
now purpose briefly to review, is not, it is true, marked 
by any of those stirring incidents, those marvelous and 
exciting adventures, those heroic actions which are 
pleasing to the minds of some. He achieved no great 
and remarkable exj)loits, which by the common and 
voluntary consent of mankind, place his name at once 
high among the great and honored of the earth. But 
there are, nevertheless, points in his history, monotonous 
and undiversified as a history enacted for the most part 
in Liberia must of necessity be, from the consideration 
of which important lessons may be gathered. We shall 
attempt, therefore, on this occasion, to collect some of 
the materials, which render his memory dear to every 
Liberian, to every Christian, and which should dispose 
us to cherish that memory as a precious inheritance, and 
to transmit it as a valuable legacy to future genera- 

John Day was born in the northern part of the State 
of North-Carolina, in the year 1797. His native county, 
bordering upon the State of Virginia, was influenced 
not a little by the manners and customs of Virginian 
life. The circumstances of his birth were favorable. 
Born of a family of a high degree of respectability and 
held in great esteem by their white neighbors, his 
privileges were superior to those of many of his race in 
that country. And in the region where he was born 

Liberia's offering. 129 

and brought up, as indeed over the greater portion of 
North- Carolina and Virginia at that time, the distinc- 
tion which now prevails between respectable persons of 
color and white persons was not known. Nathaniel 
Turner had not yet achieved his magnificent failure, and 
abolitionism had not yet assumed its rabid and sectional 
character. In his youthful education Mr. Day was for- 
tunate. He attended the best schools in the county, 
and sat side by side with the sons of the most aristo- 
cratic planters. He was born at a time when the spirit 
that engendered the American Revolution was still rife 
among the people ; when the exciting oratory of Patrick 
Henry still rang in their ears ; when the mighty rever- 
berations of his "Give me liberty, or give me death!" 
had not yet died from the mountain-ranges of Old Vir- 
ginia. Sentiments averse to oppression of every kind 
still pervaded the breasts of the white inhabitants, and 
were diffused throughout their conversation. Mr. Day, 
allowed freely to mingle with the immediate descend- 
ants of the Jeffersons, the Randolphs, the Henrys, 
caught the flame of liberty and independence. And, as 
he looked around, and saw the majority of his brethren in 
a thralldom, which, by that keen foresight with which 
he was gifted, he saw would sooner or later affect un- 
favorably the condition of all persons of color, he sighed 
for a land where he might not witness the degradation 
of his brethren. He thought of Hayti, but he thought 
also of its foreign language, its priestcraft, and its fre- 
quent revolutions. He formed various plans for his 
future life, looking forward to a time when, amid some 
fortunate scene, and beneath some auspicious sky, he 
would realize his ardent desires for the enjoyment of 
liberty untrammeled by the adventitious circumstance 
of color. 


130 Liberia's offering. 

Having been put to the trade of cabinet-making, lie 
made such proficiency in that branch of industry that 
he was soon enabled to establish himself in business. 
By the superior finish and strength of his work, he at. 
tracted considerable custom. The most distinguished 
persons for miles around furnished him with work. 
He soon made himself a competency. But just as he 
was forming plans large and magnificent for his worldly 
aggrandizement and gratification, just as he was begin- 
ning to say with the rich man of old, " My grounds 
have brought forth plentifully, what shall I do V it 
pleased the Great Head of the Church, by that mysteri- 
ous influence whose operation is like the wind, blowing 
where it listeth, to transform his moral nature and make 
him a child of God. He found himself, to use his own 
words when relating the wonderful transition, in a new 
world. He found himself with new feelings and new 
desires, new predilections and new antipathies. He 
must now, therefore, form new plans. He looked 
abroad upon the world, and his enlarged heart took in 
all mankind. He felt that he had a work to do. He 
felt that it was his duty, as he esteemed it his privilege, 
to exhort others to flee from that impending wrath from 
which as a brand from the everlasting burnings he had 
been plucked. He was strongly impressed with the 
conviction that he should devote himself to the import- 
ant business of preaching the Gospel. Having enjoyed 
the advantages of a good English education, he entered, 
through the recommendation of some friend, a theologi- 
cal class, whose reading was directed by Rev. Mr. Clop- 
ton, a Baptist minister of profound learning, skillful in 
the languages, and an adept in metaphysical science. 
Standing foremost in the ranks of Baptist ministers at 
that time, Mr. Clopton was eminently fitted for the du- 

Liberia's offering. 131 

ties of preparing young men for the ministry. Rev. Dr. 
J. B. Jeter, of Richmond, Virginia, then quite a young 
man, also frequented Mr. Clopton's study. Mr. Clopton 
had paid close attention to the laws of the mind, and 
had great facility in explaining difficulties in religious 
experience, which at that time frequently troubled Mr. 
Day. And from him, doubtless, the subject of our re- 
marks acquired that love for metaphysical discussion 
and research which those who were intimate with him, 
or attended his preaching, could not fail to discover. 

"While pursuing his studies under Mr. Clopton, the 
colony of Liberia, as an asylum for free persons of color, 
began to attract attention in that part of the country 
where he resided. No sooner had he heard of the place 
than he at once made up his mind to cast in his lot 
with the people who, on these far-off shores, and in this 
insalubrious clime, were endeavoring to establish a 
home for themselves and their children. Coincident 
with the desire for a land of liberty, there was now a 
burning zeal to preach the Gospel to the thousands of 
degraded Africans who roam these forests. He dili- 
gently applied himself to the work of preparation for 
the Gospel ministry. But unfortunately for the intel- 
lectual advancement of Mr. Day, a circumstance trans- 
pired — a circumstance to which, even down to the day 
of his death, he frequently referred with expressions of 
unmingled regret — which obliged him to relinquish his 
studies before he had gone through the prescribed 
course, and enter upon the active duties of the calling 
which he had chosen. 

Having sacrificed his property, he embarked in De- 
cember of the year 1830, with a most amiable wife, and 
four interesting children, for this land, which was so 
soon to be the grave of the affectionate group. He ar- 

132 Liberia's offering. 

rived in Liberia, entered at once npon his sacred duties, 
pursuing the business of cabinet-making for his support, 
and preaching as often as opportunity offered. He had 
not been long in the land before he saw his lovely com- 
panion stricken down by the relentless hand of death — 
a companion to whose charms and loveliness he was 
most keenly alive, and around whom the most ardent 
affections of his soul were so firmly entwined, that the 
great depths of his heart seemed upheaved by the sev- 
erance. Then, one after another, he saw his beloved 
offspring wrapped in the chilling embraces of the grim 
monster, and conveyed to the house appointed for all 
living, until his whole family melted away from him, 
and none was left to remind him of the scenes and asso- 
ciations of the past. There he stood all alone in a new 
country, amid new scenes and associations ; there he 
stood, like some solitary oak in the dead of winter, 
stripped of its foliage, and exposed, dry and defenseless, 
to all the beatings of the northern storms. Finding 
himself in this grievous solitude, and entirely at a loss 
how to dispose of the sad and weary hours that hung 
so oppressively upon him, he abandoned himself to 
gloomy abstractions and melancholy reveries. This led 
to the supposition that there was some unhingement of 
his mental organization. But notwithstanding his deep 
afflictions he never murmured ; was never disposed to 
abandon the field which he had chosen for the labors 
of his life. He had numerous inducements to return to 
the land of his birth. His relatives, in comfortable and 
respectable circumstances, urged him again and again 
to return. Several wealthy friends anxiously waited to 
welcome him. But he had put his hand to the plow, 
and he would not look back. His ardent and cherished 
desire was to labor for the evangelization of his heathen 

Liberia's offering. 133 

brethren in this land, and he would not, notwithstand- 
ing his deep bereavements, and the imminent danger in 
which his own life often stood, swerve from his noble 
purpose.' Here we have an instance of the triumph of 
grace in the soul. Here we see true Christian benevo- 
lence, the constraining love of Christ, the new, living, 
and all-controlling principle implanted in every regene- 
rate heart, rising superior to all earthly interests, forsak- 
ing father and mother, and hazarding life itself for the 
cause of Christ. Oh ! in the heart of the Christian a 
deep and evernowing fountain has been opened, flowing 
out to all the world. u There is not the wreck of hu- 
manity it will not pity ; there is not an infected prison 
it will not enter ; there is not a pestilential climate or an 
inhospitable region it will not visit ; there is no peril of 
robbers, nor peril of the sea, nor peril of false brethren, 
nor hunger, nor thirst it will not hazard in behalf of 
human redemption." 

After Mr. Day had resided here for several years, a 
mission was established by the Northern Baptist Board 
of Missions, with which he became connected, and in 
the service of which, for a number of years, he was 
abundant in labors. The principal seat of the opera- 
tions of that Board was in the county of Grand Bassa. 
Frequently have we sat and heard him recite for hours 
together the interesting and instructive incidents of 
those laborious, painful, and hazardous tours which he 
repeatedly made for hundreds of miles into the interior, 
preaching and teaching the people. And there are now 
to be found scattered all over that country delightful 
fruits of his labors. Taking the city of Buchanan as a 
center, and with a radius of sixty or seventy miles, de- 
scribe a semicircle, and there is no point to which you 
can go within that semicircle where the name of John 

134 Liberia's offering. 

Day is not a household word, and at many points you 
will readily recognize precious evidences of his toils and 

Mr. Day subsequently became connected with the 
Southern Baptist Convention, who have established 
missions throughout Liberia, at Sierra Leone, and in 
Central Africa. For several years, and up to the hour 
of his death, he filled the responsible position of super- 
intendent of their missions in Liberia and at Sierra 
Leone, and prosecuted to the utmost of his ability the 
arduous duties of that station of trust. 

But Mr. Day was patriotic. Of this no citizen of Li- 
beria, within the sound of my voice, needs any elabor- 
ate demonstration. Residing within the limits and 
being^a citizen of a nation in the incipient stages of 
progress, he felt that, notwithstanding his arduous min- 
isterial labors, he had a work to perform in shaping the 
political institutions of his country. No love of indul- 
gence or ease, no dread of severe application, kept him 
from striving to qualify himself for usefulness to his 
country and fellow-citizens. He studied closely and 
patiently the science of jurisprudence and the general 
principles of statesmanship, so that he was fitted for 
usefulness in all those positions for which intelligent 
men are needed in rising communities. Nor were his 
talents and acquirements slighted by his fellow-citizens. 
After having filled various subordinate offices, elective 
and otherwise, he was, in the year 1853, placed as suc- 
cessor of Chief-Justice Benedict at the head of the Ju- 
diciary, which position he occupied with dignity and 
credit until his demise. It is said by competent judges 
that his charges to juries and decisions, when Judge of 
the Court of Quarter Sessions in the county of Grand 
Bassa, were most elaborate, and discovered a deep in- 

Liberia's offering. 135 

sight into legal principles. In the Legislative hall he 
did not very often take the floor, but whenever he did 
his counsels were wise and judicious. His remarks 
were brief, but to the point. And when he occupied 
leading positions on committees, where important re- 
ports and other documents had to be prepared, he 
showed his wisdom and skill, did justice to his subject 
and credit to himself. 

The declaration of the Independence of Liberia, the 
establishment of the first Republican government on 
the Western Shores of Africa, did not, it is true, solve 
any intricate problem in the history of nations. It did 
not shed any new light upon mankind with reference to 
the science of government. It was not the result of the 
elaboration of any novel principle in politics. But it 
poured new vigor into the poor, dying existence of the 
African all over the world. It opened a door of hope 
for a race long the doomed victims of ojDpression. It 
animated colored men every where to fresh endeavors 
to prove themselves men. It gave the example ©f a 
portion of this despised race, far away in the midst of 
heathenism and barbarism, under the most unfavorable 
circumstances, assuming the responsibilities, and coming 
forward into the ranks, of nations ; and it demonstrated 
that, notwithstanding the oppression of ages, the ener- 
gies of the race had not been entirely emasculated, but 
were still sufficient to establish and to maintain a na- 

When the idea of bringing to pass this mighty 
achievement in the history of the race was first mooted, 
many regarded it as chimerical, some viewed it as pre- 
sumptuous, and others thought it but little less than 
treason. In the county in which Mr. Day then resided 
there was considerable opposition to the measure ; but, 

136 Liberia's offering. 

deeply thoughtful, he saw the beneficial results which 
were likely to accrue to the country and to the race 
from the assumption of Independence. He boldly ad- 
vocated the measure, notwithstanding various threats 
from an exasperated populace. The boisterousness of 
the mob could not daunt him. He persevered, and 
rode triumphantly over the tumultuous surges. He 
was elected a delegate to the National Convention 
which assembled in this city to draft a Declaration of 
Independence and a Constitution for the new Republic. 
He was therefore among the signers of the Declaration 
of Independence. And here we are reminded of the 
melancholy fact that those distinguished men are fast 
passing away. One after another has entered upon his 
voyage to that 

" undiscovered country 

From whose bourn no traveler returns." 

But four of the twelve who sat in that memorable 
convention survive. This admonishes those of us who 
are youthful that soon the fathers will have gone for- 
ever, and it presses home to our hearts, with all the 
solemnity of the grave, the question : Are we preparing 
ourselves, by mental and moral culture, to take their 
places and lead on this infant nation, which they have 
established in weakness and in much trembling, to in- 
dependence and glory? 

Just at this point we trust we shall be excused if we 
digress for a few minutes. We have with regret no- 
ticed of late a growing tendency among some of the ju- 
venile members of the community to depreciate the 
labors of our fathers, the pioneers of Liberia. We say 
with regret, because we conceive such a spirit to be in 
violation of the command, recorded in broad and solemn 

libeeia's offeeing. 137 

characters on the pages of God's Holy Book : " Honor 
thy father and thy mother that thy days may he long 
upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." We 
regret it because it is doing great injustice to the heroic 
men who for years have struggled, in sickness and in 
health, in joy and in sorrow, to maintain themselves on 
these shores. We are tauntingly asked : " What have 
these men done V And we are told that " all that has 
been achieved has been achieved by foreign means." 
What have they done ? We would ask in return, what 
have they not done ? They have voluntarily expatri- 
ated themselves from the land of their birth ; forsook 
the endearing scenes and associations of childhood ; 
severed themselves from the comforts and conveniences 
of an advanced state of society ; denied themselves 
the enjoyment of health, the pleasure of civilized 
and enlightened influences, and gave themselves up to 
a living death on these barbarous shores. And for 
what purpose ? That they might found a home not for 
themselves, for they knew they would not live to enjoy 
it, but for us their posterity. Foreign means indeed ! 
It is true they were poor men. They had no gold and 
silver to lavish out upon improvements ; but mark their 
superior self-abnegation and heroism, they gave them- 
selves. And what could foreign learning and foreign 
wealth have done without their groans, and sweat, and 
blood ? Yes, they suffered keenly, and bore up heroic- 
ally under their sufferings for us. Their work consisted 
in patient endurance — a task far more difficult than 
active exertion. Let us not, then, depreciate their sac- 
rifices and toils, but rather let us endeavor to qualify 
ourselves to carry on, by labor and well-directed effort, 
what they have begun in intense suffering and endur- 
ance. And if we are wise to detect any faults or defi- 

138 Liberia's offering. 

ciencies in any of their doings, let us not boastingly ex- 
patiate upon them, but rather let us, taking the mantle 
of charity, hasten to spread it over them, lest, while we 
luxuriate and delight ourselves with ideas of our own 
superiority to them, there come over the land a physical 
barrenness, a mental and moral blight, because we have 
not accorded the reverence due to our fathers. 

We are not by any means, however, asserting that it 
is incumbent upon us to entertain such unquestioning 
deference to the opinions and actions of our fathers as 
to reenact their errors, and proceed, right or wrong, in 
the beaten track ; but we are for interring with their 
bones the ill they may have done, encouraging the vi- 
tality of their virtuous deeds, and immortalizing their 
exemplary conduct. Let us emulate their noble actions. 
Let us not be content to live and die without doing 
something to ameliorate the condition of our down- 
trodden race. Oh ! let us not be drones in the great 
hive of humanity. 

" In the world's broad field of battle, 
In the bivouac of life, 
Be not like dumb, driven cattle, 
Be ye heroes in the strife." 

But we must return from our digression. Not only 
was Mr. Day laborious and diligent in qualifying him- 
self for the public duties which he was so frequently 
called upon to perform, but he assiduously endeavored 
to fit himself for usefulness in the more private scenes 
of life. In that part of Liberia where he spent the 
greater portion of his time, there was seldom any phy- 
sician, yet there were frequently cases among the people 
which needed medical attention. Mr. Day, therefore, 
gave himself, in addition to his numerous other studies, 
to the reading of medical works, and to the study of 

libekia's offeking. 139 

the natural sciences, that he might fit himself for ordi- 
nary practice. He soon acquired a sufficient knowledge 
of pathological principles and of therapeutics to enable 
him to be a very useful practitioner among the poor of 
his neighborhood. He willingly went from house to 
house, administering relief to the sick, healing the dis- 
eases of the body, and endeavoring to bind up the 
wounds of the spirit. Not a little of his earnings was 
expended in unwearied services among the poor and af- 
flicted. By his well-bred gentility, the cordiality of his 
manners, and his sympathy with their griefs, he won 
the esteem and love of all around him. The sick and 
the afflicted, the poor and needy, were satisfied that he 
was their friend ; and in the very humblest of their 
tenements he was met with exhibitions of their warm- 
est welcome. In these private and retired acts, we 
have the most complete demonstration of the greatness 
of his spirit. 

" The drying of a single tear has more 
Of honest fame than shedding seas of gore." 

We make a great mistake when we confine deeds of 
eminence to public scenes and magnificent occasions. 
It is often in the loneliness of a limited social or domes- 
tic circle, and in the discharge of the most common- 
place duty, that the greatest self-denial has to be exer- 
cised. Men in obscure stations, of whom the world 
never hears, may have the hardest tasks to perform, and 
the greatest sacrifices to make, in the cause of God and 
religion. We should not lavish all our applause and 
admiration on such as stand foremost in the ranks of 
philanthropists, and whose names stand prominently 
forth as having done and suffered much to alleviate hu- 
man suffering. We should not confine the honors of a 
true philanthropy to those who, in the sight and amid 

140 libeeia's offering. 

the applauses of thousands, pour out of their abundance 
in the cause of charity. We conceive that he who, se- 
questered from the gaze of the multitude, " little and un- 
known," distributes daily and habitually of his earnings 
to satisfy the needs of an indigent neighborhood, is to 
the full as deserving as he whose thousands, abstracted 
from a large and constantly increasing heap, are be- 
stowed in the vicinity of a newspaper-office. 

Mr. Day, then, by his activity in the performance of 
those deeds of charity, which were far removed from 
the observation of men generally, which attracted no 
attention, showed that he was possessor of a ]arge and 
expansive soul ; and though he did not attain to the 
celebrity of a Howard, he was none the less deserving 
of it, on the principle inculcated by our Saviour him- 
self : " He that is faithful in that which is least is faith- 
ful also in much." 

Mr. Day was also a soldier of no ordinary courage. 
His country never called for his services in that capaci- 
ty but he was ready to respond ; and when he believed 
that duty required it, he would brave the greatest dan- 
gers. On several occasions has he risked his life among 
uncounted numbers of the enemy, accompanied only by 
a few men, others refusing to follow, regarding his un- 
dertakings from their very boldness as the result of 
some mental disorder. Nothing intimidated him from 
any position to which he believed himself invited by 
the interests of his country. 

But it is especially as a Christian and a Christian 
minister that we delight to contemplate Mr. Day. Be- 
lieving himself called to the responsible work of preach- 
ing the Gospel, he devoted himself to it for more than 
thirty years with unremitting diligence. Although he 
had not received any of the honorary distinctions of 

Liberia's offering. 141 

literary institutions, although he was no graduate of 
any Theological Seminary, he had made great profi- 
ciency in the sublime science of Theology. He had 
carefully studied all the standard theological works of 
his own church and of several other denominations, so 
that on all theological subjects he was generally and 
perfectly at home. 

Of his Christian character, what can we say that is 
not already known to you ? You could not have met 
him at all if you do not agree that he had very high 
and very noble qualities. ISTo one could have inter- 
course with him without perceiving prominent and in- 
teresting features in his character — features formed by 
the combination of virtue, courage, assiduity, diligence, 
perseverance, with natural talents and genius of no in- 
ferior order. There was such a frankness and sincerity 
in his words and actions, that no one could for a mo- 
ment suppose that he was not what he seemed to be. 
What he said he meant. And whenever he made a 
promise he could be depended upon for its fulfillment, 
even though such fulfillment involved his own injury. 

There was in his whole life a beautiful consistency 
and harmony. Not that we would claim for him an 
exemption from faults and errors. Such is poor human 
nature, that not unfrequently we find some of the high- 
est qualities of mind and heart accompanied with very 
great defects. There were occasionally prominent in 
Mr. Day certain oddities of character ; but these, if 
faults at all, were, to say the most of them, venial faults, 
when we consider the remarkable excellencies by which 
they were counterbalanced. On the disk of that bright 
luminary shining above us, the glorious king of day, 
may be discovered dark spots. But who would be ac. 
counted wise that should deny himself the privilege 

142 Liberia's offering. 

and pleasure of enjoying the benign rays of that " great- 
er light," and employ his precious time in pointing out 
and counting tlie spots on the sun ? Mr. Day had his 
defects, but the number, and strength, and vitality of 
his constitutional gifts and Christian graces, completely 
overshadowed those defects; they were scarcely seen, 
or, if seen, were but little regarded except by those 
whose moral vision was jaundiced by prejudice. 

His piety was genuine. He had clear and distinct 
apprehensions of the great truths of salvation. He had 
a thorough persuasion that the promises of God record- 
ed in the Bible are yea and Amen, in Christ Jesus. 
And there were no prophecies or promises upon which 
he more delighted to dwell than upon those which re- 
ferred to Africa. He had strong faith in the assurance 
that " Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto 
God," and to hasten the fulfillment of this glorious 
promise he prayed and labored. It was a cherished 
desire of his to have extensive and permanent missions 
established by the Baptist Board among the natives 
throughout Liberia. And we could wish that this no- 
ble desire may be speedily realized, not only with re- 
spect to his own denomination, but all other denomi- 
nations in Liberia. We trust that the death of this 
man of God will prove a stimulus to the " sacramental 
host of God's elect " to go up and possess the land. 
We trust that there may be generated in us a more en- 
larged benevolence, a more ardent zeal, and a more self- 
denying spirit, that, bravely closing up the vacancy 
which has just been occasioned in the ranks by the fall 
of a veteran, we may rally up with redoubled energy 
and power, determined to conquer or to die. 

As a pastor of the Providence Baptist Church, so far 
as the weakness and infirmities of declining years per- 

Liberia's offering. 143 

niitted, lie was faithful. For his pulpit ministrations 
he always made laborious preparation. 

Crude and superficial views of truth never satisfied 
him. He followed closely the advice of the Apostle in 
giving attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 
His discourses were the product of much thought and 
severe mental application. And he not unfrequently, 
with characteristic humility, referred to tbfe intense 
labor which it cost him to prepare a discourse as a 
proof that he was not a man of genius. He earnestly 
lifted up his voice in public and in private against in- 
competence and want of intellectual industry in the 
pulpit. It was his constant endeavor to discourage and 
suppress the " declamatory raving of ignorance and 
fanaticism." And he never let pass unimproved any 
opportunity to rebuke that disposition to noise and 
disorder, during times of religious interest, which was 
formerly so common in Liberia. He gave it as his firm 
and decided intention not to tolerate such undignified 
proceedings in his church. The friends of reform in 
this respect must mourn the loss of an efficient and 
influential co-laborer. May his successor to this charge 
be blessed with a double portion of his spirit ! 

Mr. Day was unceasing and untiring in his efforts to 
promote the educational interests of Liberia generally, 
and of the Baptist church particularly. It had been, 
for a series of years, his earnest desire to see a literary 
institution established in Liberia in connection with 
the Baptist denomination ; and he did not relax his 
efforts for that purpose until he succeeded in establish- 
ing the Day's Hope Academy. Day's Hope ! signifi- 
cant appellation ! It indicates the deep sentiments of 
his heart with reference to education. He felt that 
intellectual and moral culture was the hope of Liberia, 

144 Liberia's offering. 

of the Church, and of the state ; in that were centered 
all his hopes for the future. May those hopes never be 
disappointed ! May their object be fully and abun- 
dantly realized now and hereafter to the latest poster- 
ity. We trust that that building and that institution 
may long remain to proclaim to coming generations the 
high estimation which their fathers placed upon educa- 
tion. Wfc trust that it will remain to rebuke that false 
and presumptuous spirit which, while aspiring to use- 
fulness and eminence in the Church and in the state/ 
despises intellectual ajDplication ! We trust it will 
remain, with its high and sacred design, to inspire pli- 
ant infancy with the desire and disposition to devote 
themselves to those ennobling pursuits which it was 
erected to encourage. We trust it will remain, and 
that in years to come, old age, weary and worn by 
toil, may be able to look back and be comforted by 
the reminiscences it shall suggest, and be encouraged 
by the future it shall indicate ! Long may Day's Hope 
stand ! O ye Agents of the Southern Baptist Conven- 
tion in Liberia and in America ! let Day's Hope stand. 
Let it stand by your fostering care to bless this infant 
Republic. Let it stand to bless the Church and send 
forth scores, nay, hundreds of warriors to fight the bat- 
tles of the Lord ; to storm manfully and successfully 
the numerous fortresses of Satan scattered over this 
land, and to plant the standard of the cross upon their 
demolished ruins ! 

So keenly did Mr. Day appreciate the deficiency of 
some of the laborers in Christ's vineyard in this land, 
and so fearful was he lest, in a cause so near and dear 
to his heart, they, " for want of better mind," should 
do more evil than good, that very often his references 
to such and to their labors seemed to those who did 

Liberia's offeking. 145 

not understand him, more the result of a bitter and 
caustic spirit than of Christian charity. But he earn- 
estly and constantly longed and prayed for, and la- 
bored to accelerate, the time when all the pulpits in 
Liberia, but particularly in his own church, should be 
filled by " faithful men able to teach others." 

When we became acquainted with Mr. Day he had 
already passed the meridian of life. He was what 
might be called, especially in this country, an old man ; 
but he did not undervalue, as is too often the case with 
the aged, the improvements of the present day. 

11 He looked in years, but in his years were seen 
A youthful vigor, an autumnal green." 

While he was no lover of novelty, he always stood 
ready to adopt and recommend " whatsoever things 
were true, whatsoever things were lovely, whatsoever 
things were of good report." He was a man of large 
experience and extensive reading, and of nice, discrimi- 
nating judgment. It was not easy to impose upon 
him. The light and trashy literature of the day, no 
matter how extolled in newspapers and periodical re- 
views, found their just deserts when they came into 
contact with him. He entertained the greatest rever- 
ence for the old theological and metaphysical writers. 
" One line," he would frequently say, " from Edwards, 
or Butler, or Leighton, or Fuller, is worth pages of 
many of the productions which the steam-presses so 
rapidly throw off." He ever referred in most grateful 
terms to Paley's Natural Theology as having arrested 
his fearful career, when at one time he was nearing the 
rapids of skepticism and infidelity. When the illus- 
trious Spurgeon first burst upon the astonished gaze of 
the Church, extracts from his sermons as reported in 



newspapers would often be subjected to his cutting 
severity; but after having received and read several 
volumes of the sermons of that wonderful young man, 
his views became considerably modified. 

For the last five or six years, and until within a few 
weeks before his death, as there loomed up in the dis- 
tance before the faith of this veteran soldier of Christ, 
the mighty battles that are to be fought and the great 
victories to be achieved in Africa, he desired to live on 
indefinitely. He could not fix upon any time in the 
future in view of the great work to be accomplished, 
when he would be at leisure to die. Nor was this 
strange. This is the feeling experienced by most of 
the aged who have been laboring for the cause of truth 
and righteousness, when the time draws near to ex- 
change faith for vision, hope for fruition. " The desire 
for continued existence is a native, ardent, universal 
passion. It is as inherent and inseparable an attribute 
of the human soul as the understanding or the will. 
Christianity adds a religious element, and makes the 
irrepressible longing a deep and expanded aspiration 
for an eternal purity, an eternal well-doing and well- 
being. This passion, when Christianized, is not a sim- 
ple desire of the spirit for its own endless life in God, 
but a deep, indwelling interest in the endless life in 
God of all fellow-spirits. In this way does it become 
the inspirgr of an important religious activity." 

This earnest desire for long life Mr. Day experi- 
enced, but only that he might exert himself for the 
glory of God and the benefit of his fellow-men. Hence 
his activities were unceasing — under all circumstances 
of health or sickness, if he could only stir. We have 
frequently seen him wending his weary way to some 
church-meeting when, judging from his looks, he ought 

Liberia's offering. 147 

to have been in bed. And we have again and again 
seen his worn and feeble form in the school-room bend- 
ing over some obtuse intellect striving to impart an 
important idea, when he seemed to be in the last stage 
of debility. And no entreaty of his friends, no admo- 
nition of his physician could induce him to relax his 
labors whenever he felt the least ability to engage in 
them. He was influenced by a deep conviction that he 
had a great deal to do and a short time to do it in. In 
his indefatigable exertions to serve his day and genera- 
tion, he has left us a noble example : 

" Oh ! think how, to his latest day, 
When death, just hovering, claimed his prey 
With Palinure's unaltered mood, 
Firm at his dangerous post he stood ; 
Each call for needful rest repelled, 
With dying hand the rudder held, 
Till, in his fall, with fateful sway, 
The steerage of the realm gave way." 

A few months previous to his last illness he seemed to 
have conceived a presentiment of the approach of his 
latter end. But he did not as usual express any desire 
to live. He seemed to have no fears at all of dying. 
He viewed death and spoke of his own dissolution with 
perfect indifference — not, indeed, with the indifference 
of the stoic, but with the composure and unruffled 
calmness peculiar to the Christian. 

On Sunday, the sixth of February, he came, as was 
his custom when able to walk, to this house, where a 
large and eager congregation was anxiously waiting to 
hear the words of wisdom and counsel which were 
wont to fall from his lips. He conducted the prelimi- 
nary exercisA with his usual ease and dignity ; but, 
alas ! the " silver cord was loosed," and his audience 
knew it not. When he arose to announce his text, he 

148 libeeia's offering. 

was seized with such weakness as rendered him wholly 
unable to proceed. Having been taken home, he went 
to bed, but from that bed he rose no more. On the 
fifteenth of February his spirit was summoned to eter- 
nal realities. The last assembly he met on earth was 
an assembly of God's people, with whom he was essay- 
ing to worship. In a few days after, his spirit mingled 
with that illustrious and noble army of martyrs who 

" shine 

With robes of victory through the skies." 

We had not the oj>portunity of being at his bed-side 
immediately before his death, and we can not accurately 
give you his dying words. But we know that it was a 
privilege to be there, for 

" The chamber where the good man meets his fate 
Is privileged beyond the common walks of life, 
Quite on the verge of heaven." 

We know that he was not at all dismayed as he stood, 
conscious of approaching dissolution, on the very verge 
of eternity. Oh ! no. But over its dark and untrav- 
eled vastness he cast a fearless eye ; and, as he saw 
himself hastening 

" to join 

The innumerable caravan that moves 
To the pale realms of shade, where each shall take 
His chamber in the silent halls of death, 
He went not like the quarry slave at night, 
Scourged to his dungeon ; but, sustained and soothed 
By an unfaltering trust, approached his grave, 
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch 
About him and lies down to pleasant dreams." 

Mr. Day is gone ! Never more wilUfcis voice be 
heard within these walls. Never more will he lift up 
the voice of warning to the impenitent and administer 

Liberia's offering. 149 

encouragement and comfort to the desponding believer. 
Never more will he mingle in the public councils of the 
nation and assist, by his presence and instruction, in the 
various enterprises of popular interest. He is gone — 
from the Church and state ! Hear it, ye aged fathers ! 
and strive to do with all your might whatsoever your 
hands find to do. Hear it, O cheerful youth ! and lay 
aside your trifling hilarity, and think of the responsi- 
bilities which must soon fall upon you, and endeavor 
to qualify yourselves for their assumption. 

While, however, the death of Mr. Day has occasioned 
an irreparable loss to Church and state, we do not feel 
to entertain unmingled emotions of sorrow. He has 
left us an illustrious example. We have reasons for 
congratulations in view of the noble instance afforded 
for the contemplation of the world, the encouragement 
of the Church, and the emulation of the rising genera- 
tion, of a long life of self-denial and usefulness closed 
with a beautiful serenity — a dignified calmness and 
peace. Such a life, such a death, constitute a legacy 
richer than the silver mines of Peru, and more valuable 
than the sparkling deposits of Australia or California. 
Let us avail ourselves of it. 

" Lives of great men all remind us, 
We can make our lives sublime ; 
And, departing, leave behind us 
Footprints on the sand of time." 




& «»irtM to tU Pftwjr <rt ito gtfoifini #te-®rato.* 

"Qwoe caret ora cruore nostro?" — Hon. 11 B. Ode I. 

The great epochs of the history, whether of mankind 
generally or of one particular section of the human 
race, are not unusually preceded by occurrences more 
or less extraordinary. These occurrences, cursorily 
viewed, inspire opinions as to their ultimate results, 
which subsequent experience and the development of 
the results themselves prove to have been entirely erro- 
neous. And often what would seem to be the natural 
and necessary interpretation of the tendency of any 
particular train of events is discovered to be as wide 
from the truth as possible. Hence, while there may 
be formed the most plausible conjectures as to the true 
character and bearing of any given circumstance or 
combination of circumstances, the uncertainty of re- 
sults necessarily precludes the possibility of a just 
appreciation of any event at the time of its occurrence. 
The hatred which we learn from sacred story existed in 
the large family of Jewish brothers against one of their 
number, upon whom the head of the family seemed to 
lavish all the affection of old age, the bitterness with 
which they persecuted him, and the unnatural aad 
cruel indifference with which they consigned him to 
slavery, were circumstances which seemed to justify the 
anticipation that the object of their malignity would 

* Reprinted from the Anglo-African for June, 1859. 

154 Liberia's offering. 

suffer, pine away, and die in miserable obscurity. But 
his bondage was the means, humanly speaking, of intro- 
ducing him to a position, whence, in after-years during 
a period of pressing exigency, he could administer to 
the relief and deliverance of the whole family. So 
before the permanent establishment of the nation whom 
God had chosen to be the depositary of his will and 
to preserve a knowledge of himself, amid the general 
apostasy of mankind ; whose conservative character 
was to influence either remotely or directly other por- 
tions of the human family, they must go down into 
Egypt, and there, in a land of strangers, be afflicted 
" four hundred years ;" their moral and intellectual 
powers must pass under the withering and blighting 
influence of a pernicious bondage ; circumstances which 
seemed entirely at variance with the preparation re- 
quired by a people destined to occupy the high and 
important position which the Jews afterwards filled in 
the world. So also when there was to be established 
the nation whom God had chosen to " conquer the 
world and subject it to the dominion of law," as pre- 
paratory to the advent of the " Prince of Peace," one 
of the most ancient and powerful states must pass 
through a series of unprecedented calamities, and, at 
length, leveled to the dust by the " unsparing steel and 
devouring element," of relentless foes, from its ashes 
must spring forth the germ of the chosen people — 
the all-conquering Romans. 

" Res Asiae Priamique evertere gentem 

Immeritam visum Superis.* 

So, again, in modern times, when the period draws 
near for the redemption and delivery of Africa from the 

* Virgil's JEneid. B. III. 1. 

Liberia's offering. 155 

barbarism and degradation of unnumbered years, there 
must take place circumstances so horrible in their char- 
acter, and so revolting to the nobler instincts of man 
as to find few disposed to recognize in them the hand 
of a supreme and merciful Ruler. 

" Sunt lachrymae rerum, et mentem mortalia tangunt." 

Almost coeval with the invention of printing and 
the discovery of America — two great eras in the history 
of human improvement — was the beginning of the 
African slave-trade. As soon as the empire of Europe, 
following the guiding " star" of destiny, began to move 
"westward," she dragged Africa, rather tardy in the 
march of nations, along with her to the place which 
seems to have been designed for the rejuvenescence of 
eastern senility, for the untrammeled exercise and 
healthful growth of the principles of political and 
ecclesiastical liberty, and for the more thorough devel- 
opment of man. And it can not be denied that the 
Africans when first carried to the Western world were 
benefited. The men under whose tutelage they were 
taken generally regarded them as a solemn charge in- 
trusted to their care by Providence, and felt bound to 
instruct them, and in every way to ameliorate their 
condition. They were not only indoctrinated into the 
principles of Christianity, but they were taught the 
arts and sciences. The relation of the European to the 
African in those unsophisticated times was that of 
guardian and protege. And the system, if slavery it 
was, bore a strong resemblance to slavery as it existe'd 
among the Romans, in the earlier periods of their his- 
tory, when tljg " slave was the teacher, the artist, the 
actor, the man of science, the physician." Hence many 
good men, in view of the benefits which they saw accrue 

156 Liberia's offering. 

from the mild and generous system, embarked their 
capital in, and gave their influence to, the enterprise of 
transporting negroes from Africa. The virulent fea- 
tures of the trade were not developed until the enor- 
mous gains which were found to result from the toil of 
the African and the consequent demand for his labor, 
had supplied the Western continent with hordes of 
these children of the sun. But the evils of the sys- 
tem, though horrifying in the extreme, were not re- 
garded of sufficient magnitude to arrest the importation 
of slaves. The benefits which the poor heathen re- 
ceived in his deportation from a land of barbarism to 
a land of civilization furnished a counterbalancing argu- 
ment to the mind of those benevolent souls who were 
actively engaged in the trade — the rapidity and ease 
with which they were enriching their coffers was, of 
course, only incidental to their glorious design of civil- 
izing poor, benighted Africa ! ! 

But it was not long before the true character of the 
traffic began unmistakably to discover itself. Its im- 
mense gains brought men of various characters into 
competition. The whole western coast of Africa became 
the haunt of the slave-trader, and the scene of unutter- 
able cruelties as the result of their operations. The 
more powerful native chiefs, impelled by those sordid 
and cruel feelings which, in the absence of higher mo- 
tives, actuate men, made war upon their weaker neigh- 
bors in order to capture prisoners to supply the demand 
of the traders ; and a state of things was induced which 
awakened the commiseration and called forth the re- 
monstrances of the thoughtful and philanthropic in 
Christian lands. Wilberforce, Granville Sharp, and 
others, ably exhibited before the British public the 
horrible effects of the trade ; pointed out its disastrous 


influence upon the peaceful communities of Africa ; 
showed its agency in the disintegration of African soci- 
ety, and in the feuds and guerrillas which distracted the 
African coast ; discovered it as depopulating the conti- 
nent, and giving rise to multifarious and indescribable 
evils ; and proposed as a remedy the immediate aboli- 
tion of the traffic. In 1792 Mr. H. Thornton, Chair- 
man of the Sierra Leone Company, said, in the course 
of a discussion consequent upon a motion made by Mr. 
Wilberforce for the abolition of the slave-trade : " It 
had obtained the name of a trade; and many had 
been deceived by the appellation ; but it was a war, 
not a trade ; it was a mass of crimes, and not com- 
merce / it alone prevented the introduction of trade 
into Africa. It created more embarrassments than all 
the natural impediments of the country, and was more 
hard to contend with than any difficulties of climate, 
soil, or natural dispositions of the people." The slave- 
traders by pampering their cupidity had so ingratiated 
themselves with the native rulers of the country, and 
had acquired such an influence on the coast, that 
nothing could be suffered which would at all interfere 
with the activity of the trade. The establishment of 
any settlement or colony opposed to the traffic was of 
course out of the question. 

The close of the eighteenth century, when experi- 
ence had proved the traffic to be at variance with the 
laws of God and an outrage upon humanity, witnessed 
the inauguration of vigorous efforts on the part of the 
philanthropists in England for the destruction of its 
legality. Mr. Wilberforce, having introduced the mo- 
tion in Parliament " that the trade carried on by Brit- 
ish subjects for the purpose of obtaining slaves on the 
African coast ought to be abolished," the friends of the 


motion ceased not in their efforts until on the tenth of 
February, 1807, a committee of the whole House passed 
a bill " that no vessel should clear out for slaves from 
any port within the British dominions after May 1, 
1807," fifteen years after the introduction of Mr. Wil- 
berforce's motion. The legality of the traffic being 
thus overthrown by England, and by other nations fol- 
lowing in her wake, the horrors of the traffic manifestly 
declined, and honorable commerce could again be pros- 
ecuted with some measure of safety. 

The temporary immunity of the coast from the hor- 
rors attendant upon the slave-trade, occasioned by the 
passage of the British " Abolition Act," furnished an 
opportunity to certain philanthropists in America to 
carry out an idea which had originated years previous- 
ly, of planting on the west coast of Africa a colony of 
civilized Africans, but which had seemed impracticable 
in consequence of the unlimited and pernicious sway 
which the slavers held on the coast. In the year 1816 
a Society was instituted under the denomination of the 
"American Colonization Society," for the purpose of 
colonizing in Africa, with their own consent, free per- 
sons of color of the United States. In 1820, the neces- 
sary preparations having been made, the ship Eliza- 
beth sailed from the United States with a company of 
eighty-eight emigrants for the west coast of Africa. 
After various trials and difficulties they landed on Cape 
Monserrado and succeeded in establishing themselves. 
But scarcely had they intrenched themselves when the 
slavers, a few of whom still hovered on the coast and 
had factories in the vicinity of Monserrado, began to 
manifest their hostility to the settlers, endeavoring in 
every possible way to break up the setSrement ; while 
the aboriginal neighbors of the colonists, finding that 

libeeia's offering. 159 

the presence of the colony was diminishing very con- 
siderably their gains from the unhallowed trade, in- 
dulged a lurking enmity which only awaited opportu- 
nity to develop itself. But the opportunity was not 
long in offering, for the colony was hardly two years 
old when it was desperately assailed by untold num- 
bers of savages who came down in wild ferocity upon 
the feeble and defenseless company, and must have 
swept away every trace of them had not a merciful 
Providence vouchsafed deliverance to the weak. The 
settlers triumphed against overwhelming odds. 

The slave-traders, notwithstanding the signal defeat 
of their native allies in the traffic, were not willing to 
abandon a scene which for scores of years they had 
unmolestedly and profitably infested. They still lin- 
gered about the settlement. " From eight to ten, and 
even fifteen vessels were engaged at the same time in 
this odious traffic almost under the guns of the settle- 
ment ; and in July of the same year, (1825,) contracts 
were existing for eight hundred slaves to be furnished 
in the short space of four months, within eight miles of 
the Cape. Four hundred of these were to be purchased 
for two American traders.'* During the same year Mr. 
Ashmun, agent of the American Colonization Society, 
wrote to the Society : " The colony only wants the 
right ; it has the power to expel this traffic to a dis- 
tance, and force it at least to conceal some of its worst 
enormities." From this time the Society began to take 
into consideration the importance of enlarging the ter- 
ritory of the colony, and thus including within its 
jurisdiction several tribes, in order both to protect the 
settlement against the evil of too great proximity to 
slave-factories and to place it within the competency of 

* Gurley's Life of Ashmun, page 261. 


the colonial authorities to " expel the traffic to a dis- 
tance." But even after the limits of the colony had 
been greatly extended and several large tribes brought 
under its jurisdiction, the slavers would every now and 
then attempt to renew their old friendships, and fre- 
quently occasioned not a little trouble to the colonists 
by exciting the natives to insubordination and hostility 
to a colony which, as they alleged, (being instructed so 
to think by the slavers,) " was spoiling their country 
and breaking up their lucrative trade." 

The feelings of some of the natives who had surren- 
dered themselves to Liberian authority, became, under 
the guidance of the " marauding outlaws," so embit- 
tered against the colony that they more than once 
boldly avowed their hostile sentiments, and professed 
utter indifference to the laws of Liberia. This, together 
with the fact that every once in a while slavers would 
locate themselves, erect barracoons and purchase slaves 
on Liberian territory under the countenance and pro- 
tection of aboriginal chiefs, rendered several wars (?) 
against the latter necessary in order to convince them 
that Liberians had power to compel them to obedi- 
ence. The last war of this character was " carried " to 
New-Cess in 1849, immediately after the independence 
of Liberia had been recognized by England and France. 
The condign punishment inflicted upon the slavers by 
that military expedition, the regular cruising of the 
Liberian government schooner Lark, and the scattering 
of settlements at various points, have entirely driven 
away the slavers from the Liberian coast. The country 
in consequence has enjoyed a grateful repose, and the 
people have been peaceably prosecuting a legitimate 
traffic both with Liberians and foreigners. 

But latterly a new element of discord has been intro- 

libeeia's offeeing. 161 

cluced on the Liberian coast, the French emigration sys- 
tem. French vessels visit the coast for the ostensible 
object of employing laborers for the French colonies. 
Of course it is understood or presumed that all emi- 
grants embarking on board of these vessels do so of 
their own accord ; if so, the trade is as lawful as any 
other emigration trade. But it must be borne in mind 
that the aborigines are not settled along the coast in in- 
dependent republican communities. They are under 
the most despotic rule ; the king or head-man having 
absolute control over his subjects or " boys." All the 
employer of emigrants has to do, then, is to offer, which 
he does, liberal conditions to the chiefs for the number 
of laborers required. The chiefs immediately send 
around and compel their boys to come, or if they have 
not a sufficient number of their own people to answer 
the demand, predatory excursions are made, in which 
they kidnap the weak and unsuspecting, or a pretext is 
assumed for a war with a neighboring tribe ; cruelty, 
bloodshed, carnage ensue; prisoners are taken, driven 
down to the beach and handed over to the captain of 
the emigrant ship, whose business being to employ all 
the laborers he can get, does not stop to inquire as to 
the method adopted for obtaining these persons. The 
result is, a state of things as revolting as that occasioned 
by the slave-trade in its most flourishing period. The 
bond which it was hoped Liberia had formed for the 
linking together of tribe to tribe in harmonious inter- 
course and mutual dependence, is thus being rudely 
snapped asunder. The natives, according to complaints 
made by some of them to the Liberian government, are 
being agitated with reciprocal fears and jealousies, their 
lives and property are in danger, and a check is imposed 
upon all their industrious efforts. 

162 Liberia's offering. 

An occurrence, however, sad indeed, but no doubt 
providential, has recently taken place on the Liberian 
coast, which has clearly developed the character of the 
system, and which will, in all probability, arrest its 
deleterious influences. In the early part of April last 
(1858) the Regina Coeli, a French ship engaged in 
the enlistment of laborers, as above stated, was laying 
at anchor off Manna, a trading port a few leagues north- 
west of Monrovia, with two or three hundred emigrants 
on board, among whom, in consequence of some of their 
number being manacled, considerable dissatisfaction 
prevailed. During the absence of the captain and one 
of the officers, a quarrel broke out between the cook 
and one of the emigrants. The cook struck the emi. 
grant, the latter retaliated, when a scuffle ensued, in 
which other emigrants took part This attracted the 
attention of the rest of the crew, who coming to the as- 
sistance of the cook, violently beat the emigrants, kill- 
ing several of them. By this time, those emigrants who 
had been confined below were unshackled, and joining 
in the fracas killed in retaliation all the crew, save 
one man who fled aloft and protested most earnestly his 
freedom from any participation in the matter. The 
emigrants, recognizing his innocence, spared his life, but 
ordered him ashore forthwith, which order he readily 

The surviving emigrants having sole charge of the 
vessel, awaited the arrival of the captain to dispatch 
him as soon as he touched the deck. But he, learning 
their design, did not venture on board, but sought and 
obtained aid from the Liberian authorities at Cape 
Mount to keep the exasperated savages from stranding 
his vessel. The unfortunate ship was subsequently res- 
cued by an English mail steamer, and towed into Mon- 
serrado Roads. 

Liberia's offering. 163 

One very important result has accrued from this sad 
occurrence, and that is the one already referred to — the 
development of the ruinous influence of the French emi- 
gration system upon the natives from among whom the 
laborers are taken. There have existed apprehensions 
on the part of the Liberian government that the emi- 
gration was constrained; but having received official 
information and assurance that the system enjoyed the 
countenance and patronage of the French government, 
and that the traders were under the immediate surveil- 
lance of French officials, it could not depreciate the 
honesty and gopd intentions of that renowned and mag- 
nanimous nation. 

Nearly coincident with the above circumstance, and, 
perhaps, in some measure the result of it, was another 
of a similar character, in the interior of Liberia. One 
or two native chiefs, it appears, had collected a number 
of persons and were conveying them, manacled, to the 
coast for the purpose of supplying the emigrant vessels. 
On their way they stopped, with their human load, to 
pass the night at a native town. During the night, 
one of the captives having worked himself loose, untied 
the others, when a revolt ensued in which the prisoners 
killed their kidnappers and made their escape. 

It is a matter of profound regret that such should be 
the concomitants of a system which was doubtless de- 
signed by the French government for the benefit of the 
African race, and which, if judiciously carried out, ac- 
cording to its original intention, would probably result 
in the downfall of American slavery. A French periodi- 
cal published in Paris, states the view taken of the sys- 
tem by French philanthropists as follows : 

" La France, en agissant comme elle le fait, ne travaille pas seulement 
pour la fortune des deux iles qui lui restent dans l'archipel des petites 

164 Liberia's offering. 

Antilles ; elle a, il est vrai, a peupler aussi, dans le cercle plus speciaMes 
interets nationaux, la Guyane franchise et l'Algerie; mais elle a surtout 
la mission de proteger de son pavilion et de couronner de son aureole mor- 
ale une oeuvre essentiellement .humanitaire, dont la double consequence 
doit etre, d'extirper l'esclavage de deux continents a la fois, de l'Afrique 
et de l'Amerique."* 

If tlie emigration system could be carried on without 
involving the coast in such fearful distractions, it would, 
we are inclined to believe, furnish before long a fair and 
satisfactory solution of the problem respecting the com. 
parative productiveness of slave and free labor. There 
would be furnished in Guiana and other French colo- 
nies, to which these emigrants are taken^ an example of 
vast tropical regions extensively and profitably culti- 
vated by hordes of free native Africans. But so long 
as the system bears a compulsory character, the results 
to Africa of the efforts of those engaged in it, can not 
fail to be disastrous. And no intercourse of foreigners 
with the natives, in the vicinity of Liberia and Sierra 
Leone, containing in it any element of the slave-trade, 
will be long endured. Through the influence of these 
civilized and Christian colonies, the natives far and near 
have been taught the sacredness of human rights. 
They will not easily and silently submit to enslavement, 
if there is the least chance of successful resistance. 
From Sierra Leone to Bereby, a distance of about seven 
hundred miles of coast, with an interior of about one 
hundred and fifty miles, and a population of about 
eight hundred thousand souls, the natives have caught 
the inspiration of the Genius of universal Freedom, 
and they too sing — 

M Hereditary bondmen, know ye not, 
That they who would be free, themselves must strike the blow !" 

Ill a great part of this region, what is an unmistaka- 

* Annates d'Afrique, Mars et Avril, 1858. 

libeeia's offering. 165 

ble indication that the natives have permanently aban- 
doned the slave-trade, is the absence of barricaded 
towns, which formerly, when the trade was rife, were 
indispensable to their protection from the slave-hunters. 
And these sentiments of freedom are spreading them- 
selves far and wide, into the equatorial regions of Afri- 
ca. Besides the influence which the missionaries scat- 
tered along the coast for about two thousand miles, are 
exerting, " a commencement has been made of home mi- 
gration of liberated Africans, from Sierra Leone into 
the Yoruba country." These people having received 
an education under the ojDeration of the free principles 
of English law, and having accumulated a little proper- 
ty, are returning home deeply imbued with a sense of 
the wrong and injustice of the slave-trade, and are form- 
ing settlements on civilized and Christian principles. 
The ardent and enlightened love of liberty, which has 
been engendered among them, under the teachings of 
those friends of the African, will render them anxious 
not only to reduce to practice, but widely to dissemi- 
nate those lessons of personal and political liberty. 
And it may reasonably be hoped, that they will soon 
so generally diffuse their principles among the natives 
of those regions, so develop and strengthen among the 
masses the love of freedom, as to render those chiefs 
who favor the slave-trade, unpopular among their peo- 
ple, as all such miscreants are becoming in the vicinity 
of Liberia. 

The unusual rush recently made by slavers to certain 
portions of the equatorial coast, have called for vigorous 
action on the part of the British squadron, which has 
resulted in the capture of several notorious slavers. 
The American squadron, which has hitherto not been 
as efficient as desirable, is now on the alert. Measures 

166 Liberia's offering. 

are taking, we understand, to increase the efficiency of 
this squadron. From the cooperation of the two squad- 
rons, much good may be expected, or rather we may 
look for the prevention of much evil. 

But while the odious traffic is receiving its death- 
wounds on the coast, we hear of a determination on the 
part of some in North- America to resuscitate it. Upon 
almost every wind that sweeps from the United States 
do we receive indications of a disposition in certain sec- 
tions of that country to commence the importation of 
slaves into the Southern States. In the reports of Con- 
gress and State Legislatures, in the public newspapers, 
in the sermons of eminent divines, in private letters, we 
have the same admonition. One may aspectuprimo be 
somewhat surprised to find such a feeling existing in a 
land, which in point of intellectual and moral light, is 
among the most favored in the world. But when it is 
considered that we have fallen upon times when " the 
lust of gain is the sole impulse of human activity, and 
almost the only umpire of human life," when intellect 
has become the slave of avarice, though proclaiming 
its incontestable dominion over the universe, we can 
hardly wonder. It is by no means surprising that there 
should be such a failure on the part of those votaries of 
slavery and the slave-trade, in the land of light, to dis- 
cover that flagrant wrong and enormous guilt involved 
in their favorite pursuit ; for, besides the strenuous ef- 
forts which they make to believe and to disseminate 
the dogma that " the black man has no rights which 
white men are bound to respect," their indisposition to 
work with their own hands, and the prodigious gains 
which accrue to them from the unrecompensed toil of 
the Negro, have erected an insurmountable and impene- 
trable barrier between them and Right. " I can never 

libeeia's offeeing. 167 

cease to be most unfeignedly thankful," says Dr. Liv- 
ingstone, " that I was not born in a land of slaves. No 
one can understand the effect of the unutterable mean- 
ness of the slave system on the minds of those who, but 
for the strange obliquity which prevents them from 
feeling the degradation of not being gentlemen enough 
to pay for services rendered, would be equal in virtue 
to ourselves. Fraud becomes as natural to them as 
4 paying one's way' is to the rest of mankind."* 

But we are rather encouraged than otherwise by the 
noisy boasting of the pro-slavery zealots. We regard 
it, all things considered, as a favorable augury. It is 
our deliberate opinion that, if the real feelings of some 
of the loudest defenders of slavery were known, we 
should find them briefly but truly expressed in the sig- 
nificant device : " Le passe me tourmente, et je crains 

The days of giant oppression are numbered and he 
knows it. His hideous and menacing roars are only ac- 
companiments of his dying paroxysms. While we must 
admit that the " gnashing of his teeth," and his " hor- 
rible grins," are indications of what he would do under 
more favorable circumstances, yet, knowing as we do, 
the march of events in the current history of the world, 
we can not but regard it as a sign of supervening ener- 
vation and overwhelming overthrow. 

* Livingstone's Miss. Travels, etc., in South-Africa, p. 39. 

613 Pine Street, ) 
Philadelphia, June 7, 1862. j 

Benjamin Coates, Esq. : 

Dear Sir : Since my interview with you this morn- 
ing, I have concluded, as I must shortly leave the city, 
to give you briefly, in this form, my views, and sub- 
stantially the views of the people of Liberia whom I 
represent, in relation to the subjects on which we con- 
versed for a few minutes, namely, The Colonization and 
Abolition Movements. 

And first in regard to yourself — if you will pardon 
the reference here. We do not in Liberia look upon 
you as committed exclusively either to Colonization or 
Abolition sentiments. We do not regard you as any 
more the friend of one people than another. We look 
upon you as a philanthropist — a lover of men, laboring 
to diminish the heap of human misery and increase the 
heap of human happiness. 

You have sent to the various libraries in our settle- 
ments, as well as to individuals, a number of valuable 
books of antagonistic party views, but all of humanita- 
rian and highly instructive tendency. You have sent 
us the Speeches of Henry Clay and the Addresses of 
Latrobe — as well as the stirring and beautiful rhetoric 
of Charles Sumner and the burning appeals of Frederick 
Douglass. You have sent the rousing poems of Whit- 
tier and the gentle accents of Mrs. Sigourney. You 
seem nulli magistwo actdictus, but to admire brave 
words for humanity whenever and by whomsoever ut- 

I feel, therefore, that a letter addressed to you on the 
topics I have chosen is likely, on account of your known 
catholicity of sentiment, to be read with calmness and 



deliberation by persons who, perhaps, could not be 
reached otherwise. 

I need not begin by giving you details of affairs in 
Liberia. You are as well informed of them as I am. 
Indeed, I have been struck with the accuracy of the in- 
formation respecting Liberian matters possessed by the 
leading friends of that young Republic in this country. 
Though at a distance of four thousand miles from us, 
you have all, in a most incomprehensible manner, ex- 
plored the whole surface of our territory, and crowded 
your minds, with the whole assembly of its objects. 

When, in Liberia, I have sometimes read the Annual 
Reports submitted to the American Colonization Socie- 
ty, and to the various auxiliary societies in this country 
on Liberian affairs — so marvelously correct in every 
particular, and taking, generally, so enlightened a view 
of matters occurring thousands of miles from you, and 
under circumstances which one would hardly suppose 
that in your advanced state here you would appreciate, 
I have wondered by what mysterious method of con- 
veyance do you transfer yourselves to our theater of 
action, and so multiply your acquaintance with the 
varied circumstances of our political, social, and indus- 
trial life ; or by what magic telegraph are you kept in 
such minute correspondence with our little Republic. 
I will, therefore, passing over details of facts, come at 
once to the subject. 

In the history of the American Colonization Society 
we have a noble illustration of the overpowering influ- 
ence of principle. From its commencement the Society 
has had to contend against the most fearful discourage- 
ments and oppositions. It has had, as you are aware, 
a zealous, active and bitter opponent — and why I have 
ne^ier been able to see — in the Anti-Slavery Society, 

Liberia's offering. 171 

which succeeded, in the most extraordinary degree, 
both in this country and in England, among white and 
black, in stirring up a spirit of hostility against it. The 
Anti-Slavery Society being more obviously antagonistic 
to the institution of Slavery, and having as a constant 
topic of appeal to the masses the sufferings of the slaves 
— their right to freedom — their struggles — the brutal- 
ity of their masters — their attempts to be free — their 
hair-breadth escapes, etc. — subjects which needed no 
Uncle Torres Cabin to give them reality and existence 
— but which long before the appearance of that won- 
derful book had stirred to their deepest depths the soul 
of every humane man — had made Jefferson " tremble 
for his country," and no doubt induced his conception 
of the grand idea of the colonization of the blacks — I 
say, that the Anti-Slavery Society, having such subjects 
as constant topics of appeal, produced a race of orators, 
black and white, whose burning and effective eloquence 
was felt in every part of the country, waking up the 
North and exasperating the South. 

The founders of Liberia, on the other hand, had to 
handle the unpopular subject of sending men from their 
native land to a distant and insalubrious clime to found 
a nationality of their own — to endure the hardships of 
building up new States. Though to the mind of men 
of exalted intellects like that of Cicero, there is nothing 
more God-like than founding new States or preserving 
States already founded, still it was not a subject that 
would readily take with the masses. 

The Annual Reports of the Colonizationists did not 
teem with stirring accounts of slaves rescued — women 
and children snatched from brutalization — tears and 
groans dried up and hushed by transit through under- 
ground railroads — though they contributed no less than 


172 Liberia's offering. 

their active antagonists to the mitigation of the horrors 
of Slavery. In their reports they had to speak of the 
troubles incident to the founding of new settlements. 
They had to tell of malarious districts, fevers and death. 
More than once they had to report whole settlements 
destroyed by hostile aborigines. But believing that 
their cause was one of true Christian philanthropy, 
having the approbation of Heaven, they persevered. 
They have striven nobly and done well. 

But they have had other and perhaps more serious 
discouragements. Their motives and intentions have 
been impugned, not only by their recognized opponents, 
but by men whose opinions they had every reason to 
respect as disinterested philanthropists. A large pro- 
portion of the good people of the free States looked 
upon Colonization as a very low and mean affair — as a 
visionary and unprincipled enterprise, and that no good 
thing could come of it — as a mere spawn of Southern 
slaveholders, and which none but actual slaveholders, 
or slaveholders in spirit, could have any respect for. 
The torrent of prejudice against it was terrible, and the 
very name of Colonization excited the utmost disgust, 
as, indeed, it does to this day in some parts of this 
country, and among a certain party in England, who 
give themselves no trouble to investigate the subject. 
While in England, a few weeks ago, I was surprised to 
hear men, who, in other matters, prove themselves able, 
candid and reflecting inquirers, express the most unqual- 
ified opposition to Colonization as a means of riveting 
the chains of the slave. 

Thus while toiling, with all their might, to advance 
what they believed to be the true interests of the Afri- 
can, Colonizationists were represented as enemies of the 
race ; seeking to get the free portion out of the country, 

Liberia's offering. 173 

that the slaves might be more safely and comfortably 
held. Now I must say here, as a member of the Afri- 
can race, and a lon^ resident of Liberia — and without 
making myself an apologist for the peculiar sentiments 
and conduct of certain individual members of the Socie- 
ty — that I believe such a representation to be a gross 
slander — a most illiberal and unjust imputation against 
a Society which numbered among its founders, and still 
contains within its pale, some of the best and ablest men 
of which this country can boast. 

Those results in the moral as in the physical world 
which are of great and permanent utility, are generally 
of tardy development. While Colonizationists were 
laboring to do a great and permanent work for Africa 
and the African race, because the results of their labors 
were not immediately apparent, the odium of hostility 
to the interests of the blacks was fastened upon them, 
while the credit of great sympathy with that injured 
class was carried off by another set of men who were 
only partial and temporary in their benevolence. I say 
partial and temporary in their benevolence, because 
they rescued the negro from Southern slavery and sent 
him to Canada to contend single-handed with a strange 
people, who overshadowed him by their superior intel- 
ligence and enterprise, and forced him to a menial con- 
dition ; or they kept him in these free States, subject to 
the caprices of the whites, to be driven from his home 
whenever Illinois, or Ohio, or any other State may 
choose to pass exclusive laws against him. 

Colonizationists looked upon the negro as a man, 
needing for his healthful growth and elevation all the 
encouragement of social and political equality, and 
they provided for him a home in Africa, in his own 
fatherland. And while a partial and narrow sympathy 


was pouring out its complaints and issuing its invec- 
tives against their operations, they were planting the 
seeds of African nationality, and rearing, on a barbarous 
shore, the spectacle we now behold of a thriving, well- 
conditioned and independent negro State. I have never 
had a more striking illustration of the entire mistake of 
our feelings and. aspirations upon which abolitionists 
proceed, in their efforts to retain us in this country, 
than I had when I paid a visit to Canada last year. 

I called to pay my respects to one of the leading cler- 
gymen of the city of Toronto, who is also a leading 
abolitionist. In the course of conversation, I told him 
of my intention to address the colored people of the 
city on Liberia, and invite them to go out to that coun- 
try and assist in building up a nationality of their own 
people. " Oh sir !" said the clergyman, with an air of 
surprise and disappointment, "I am afraid you have 
come here to do our people mischief. They are per- 
fectly happy here. What do they know, or what do 
they care about nationality ? They receive every pro- 
tection under the British flag. We take care of them. 
Their poor are fed, clothed and sheltered and taught to 
read, and now I am really afraid you will unsettle their 
feelings without doing them any good." There may 
have been philosophy and philanthropy in what the 
good doctor was saying, but I must confess, in my then 
state of feeling, I could discover none. But this I was 
satisfied of, that all his remarks proceeded upon an en- 
tire misapprehension of African nature. He seemed to 
think that protection and patronage was all the black 
man needed or cared for. 

Many of these abolition friends of ours — both in this 
country and in England — with all deference to them — 
do not know us, or they would have a more worthy 

Liberia's offering. 175 

opinion of us. They do not conceive how nationality 
and independence can be at all objects to us. They 
suppose that after they have given us meat for food, 
houses for shelter, and raiment to cover us, there is 
nothing else that we desire or are fit to enjoy. But we 
have souls as well as they. Our hearts are made of the 
same materials as theirs. We can feel as well as they ; 
and the words Nationality and Independence possess as 
much charm and music for us as for them. 

But, as I have said, in all their efforts from the very 
commencement, Colonizationists have been misunder- 
stood and misrepresented. It is easy to move along in 
any enterprise amid the applause of the multitude, amid 
the visits and attentions of kindness, wlien every eye 
smiles welcome, and every word is one of confidence 
and gratitude from those for whom we labor. But the 
lot of the Colonization Society has been just the reverse 
of this. The very persons whom they were laboring to 
benefit, in consequence of the representations to which 
I have referred, conceived against thern the most intol- 
erant prejudice, and recoiled from the idea of inter- 
course with them. They have had to depend for solace 
and support only upon the truthfulness and correctness 
of their principles. Theirs has been the field of faith 
and patience, in which they have been called to manly 
encounters. They have kept the even tenor of their 
way amidst all the levities of ridicule, the sneerings of 
contempt, the clamors of hostility, and the scowlings of 

The leading opponents of Liberia, as I have already 
said, have been generally men of marvelous eloquence ; 
and they have too well succeeded in investing that 
country, in the eyes of the colored people of this land, 
with unnumbered horrors and abominations; while 


they have, by a most consoling rhetoric, made this 
country of oppression and degradation appear the only 
desirable home — elevating the fancy of their followers 
by romantic visions of social and political equality, 
which can never be realized. They have turned away 
the heart and mind of the descendants of Africa from 
their fatherland. They have held them bound by the 
enchanting spell of their fine rhetoric ; so that while the 
victims of their bewitching influence see and feel their 
disabilities, and while the better principles of their na- 
ture make them long for some nobler scene of action, 
such is the charm by which they are beguiled, that they 
will not allow^ the facts of their real condition to make 
any permanent break upon that delightful tranquillity 
and those brilliant hopes of the future into which they 
have been schooled. 

Oh ! I do not know a more striking evidence of the 
infatuation which has been wrought among my brethren 
here than their turning away from their ancestral land, 
and declaring that there are no ties or sympathies that 
bind them to it. To those who have been to Africa, 
and who have witnessed its adaptation to the necessi- 
ties of this people, it is an affecting sight to see them 
content to be treated with such ignominy here, when 
they might have so happy and delightful a home. Oh ! 
that I knew some counter-charm by which to break the 
spell of the enchanter and reclaim the thousands of my 
brethren from their delusion ! It is not argument they 
need — they have been argued with again and again. It 
is not information of Liberia that they lack. This is 
supplied on every hand. They offer resistance even to 
ocular demonstration. Oh ! what can the matter be ? 
Ho,w does it happen that in despite of their bitter ex- 
periences here — in despite of the intelligence they re- 


ceive from time to time of a thriving Republic of their 
own race, in their own fatherland — how, in despite of 
the invitations which have so often come to them to 
come over and help us — do they still cling to this land 
of contumely with such amazing tenacity ? Oh ! it must 
be that there has passed over their manhood a sad be- 
reavement. It must be that the spirit has been fear- 
fully dwarfed. How else could we account for the 
political contentedness, the peace when there is no 
peace, that sentiment of quiet and indolent repose with 
reference to their condition, when, from one end of the 
land to the other, it is a condition of disfranchisement, 
of oppression, and of degradation % Surely there is a 
moral and intellectual emasculation ! 

But I trust the day is breaking, and that the true 
light will now shine with overcoming power upon the 
colored people of this country. The fruits of the Am- 
erican Colonization Society are now speaking. Though 
eloquence has used its imagery against the Society, and 
poetry has withheld from it its graces and embellish- 
ments, it has on the Western Coast of Africa a power- 
ful advocate. The result of its labors in that Republic 
is uttering an irresistible oration. The gratitude of a 
thousand families saved from slavery and degradation, 
and made happy and comfortable, is ringing the praises 
of its beneficence to the world. And many an oppo- 
nent with a heart kindling into admiration, despite 
himself, when he beholds the evidence of a real negro 
nation existing on that coast, and doing so much for 
Africa, involuntarily blesses the Society and bids it 
God-speed ; for it matters not what may be our opposi- 
tion to individuals or communities, we can not resist the 
influence of praiseworthy deeds performed by them. 
As one of your poets has beautifully said : 


" Whene'er a noble deed is wrought, 
Whene'er is spoken a noble thought, 
Our hearts in glad surprise, 
To higher levels rise. 

" The tidal wave of deeper souls 
Into our inmost being rolls, 
And lifts us unawares 
Out of all meaner cares." 

Something has been said about a feeling of aliena 
tion between Liberia and the Colonization Society. I 
must here be allowed to say that no such feeling exists 
on the part of Liberia. The people of Liberia could 
not lightly part with their affection and respect for an 
institution which has done so much for them. They 
will never withhold the tribute of their reverence from 
a Society to whose fostering care they owe so much. 
They can never forget that it is through the instru- 
mentality of this Society that six hundred miles of coast 
have been rescued from the inhuman slave-trade, with 
all its terrors and abominations — that there have been 
laid the foundations of Christian empire in that be- 
nighted land, and that the habitations of cruelty and 
wretchedness are being transformed into the abodes of 
peace and joy and happiness. 

Carried away by my feelings, I have devoted so 
much time to the review of Colonization, that, to avoid 
trespassing much more upon your patience, I must only 
very briefly refer to the Liberian view of the Abolition 
movement. We can not, in Liberia, confess to any dis- 
respect for the cause of Abolition. "We must view the 
leaders of that cause also as heroic friends of the race. 
It is true that through their influence the growth of 
Liberia has been immensely retarded. But we have 
the charity to attribute this to no malice on their part. 
Burning with an impetuous zeal against the oppression 
and brutalization of a portion of God's creation, they 

Liberia's offering. 179 

imagined that Liberia was a means of perpetuating 
these abominations, and they fought against it with all 
the earnestness of a sincere conviction. 

The political rancor which, during a series of years, 
has made such a tremendous appearance of noise and 
hostility in this land, is due to slavery, not to the abo- 
litionists. They have been faithful sentinels, warning 
the country of the encroachments which the great evil 
was making in the land. The events of the last eight- 
een months have shown that when they were giving 
utterance to impetuous indignation, and were penning 
their virulent sentences, and casting forth their flaming 
sheets, and keeping up their disagreeable agitation, 
they were not fighting against a mere chimera of their 
own apprehension. 

They were repeatedly told by so-called conservatives 
to stop their agitation, and leave slavery to the influ- 
ence of Christianity ; that the only effectual counterac- 
tion of the evil was in the spirit of Christianity. This 
is true ; but the teachers of Christianity w^ere, as a 
general thing, either indifferent to the evil, or were ac- 
tually in favor of its undisturbed continuance, using 
arguments which they said were drawn from Scripture, 
to give it " aid and comfort." Organizations and asso- 
ciations for the distinct purpose of diffusing Christian 
knowledge, refused to bear any direct testimony against 
Slavery. They were very anxious that the people 
should be allowed to remain quiet, and that all agita- 
tion should cease. Political tranquillity was their great 
desire, while an eating cancer was preying upon the 
very vitals of the nation. In their earnest outcries 
against abolitionists, they professed to be anxious to 
keep down turbulent movements among the people, for- 
getting that every effort against abolitionists was an 

180 Liberia's offering. 

encouragement to the slave power — the whole instru- 
mentality of their example going to cheer on and 
strengthen the upholders of the system. 

But the abolitionists, persecuted, yet all undaunted, 
continued to agitate and agitate. They acquired to the 
superficial and prejudiced eye the character of hard, 
repulsive, and overbearing men, hostile to the estab- 
lished dignities of the land. But they persevered in 
their advocacy of the application throughout the coun- 
try of the golden rule ; and in the memorable year of 
1860, as a result of their labors, there was the "upris- 
ing of a great people " to check the aggressions of 

In Liberia we have great respect for them as the 
enemies of the oppression of our people. And though, 
when we have noticed their fiery zeal, and sometimes 
felt obscured and almost suffocated by the dust wdiich 
they have excited in our pathway, we have wished for 
power to check them in what seemed to us a mad 
career ; still we have never regarded them with disre- 
spect. Identified, as we are, with the unfortunate class 
for whom, in extraordinary and unaccountable antago- 
nism, both societies have been laboring, we can not 
enter into the peculiar feelings engendered in either 
of the controversialists. We have been spectators. 
Yet I must say, that we deem it quite unfortunate that 
some of the abolitionists should have allowed them- 
selves, in consequence of the extreme and uncompro- 
mising position which they have been obliged to main- 
tain against slavery, to fall into loose opinions on the 
subject of the Scriptures, and to indulge in the irrev- 
erent use of sacred names and words ; s<* that through 
the medium of the strong sympathy with their views, 
\ihich must prevail among the intelligent colored peo- 


pie of the Northern States, and by the contagion of 
their personal influence, they are spreading a species 
of infidelity among this class of people. This we re- 
gret. Still, politically speaking, we conceive that it 
would be base ingratitude in us, as a community of 
blacks, to withhold from such men as George B. Cheever, 
Henry Ward Beecher, Charles Sumner, Horace Greeley, 
William Lloyd Garrison, and Wendell Phillips, the 
tribute of our gratitude and admiration. Their por- 
traits must adorn our picture-galleries, as well as those 
of the noble and philanthropic founders and support- 
ers of the Colonization Society. We have two niches 
in our temple of heroes, directly opposite each other : 
one we intend for John B. Pinney, and the other for 
William L. Garrison. And, in years to come, when the 
generations now on the stage, with their prejudices and 
heart-burnings, shall have passed away, and Coloniza- 
tion and Abolition shall be contemplated from an equal 
distance by a sobered posterity, it will be difficult to 
perceive any distinction whatever between them. They 
will fade away into one, as the lofty peaks of distant 
mountains appear to adjust themselves on one and the 
same base as the observer recedes from them. 

Faithfully yours, Edward W. Blyden. 

P. S. — I shall start very soon for Washington, but 
hope to have the pleasure of a more lengthened inter- 
view with you on my return to Philadelphia.